Intel recently revealed its most recent technological feat, the Rosepoint processor, which integrates Wi-Fi baseband and RF silicon into a dual-core Atom chip. By integrating more functions into the CPU, Intel will create better power efficiencies and make devices easier to design by cutting out the work of integrating two chips instead of just one. And while this processor is just a prototype at this point, it does paint an interesting picture of an upcoming clash between Qualcomm and Intel which may rival or exceed that of AMD vs. Intel.
With the upcoming Windows 8 supporting ARM processors, Android already supporting ARM and x86 processors, and Intel finally announcing design wins for its mobile processor Medfield, Qualcomm and Intel are increasingly entering each other’s traditional markets. With the introduction of Windows 8, ARM chips, and in particular Qualcomm’s S4, are likely to start appearing in traditional x86 markets like notebooks and netbooks. Conversely, with Intel now offering a more competitive mobile CPU and integrating features like Wi-Fi and other connectivity standards directly into the CPU, it is clearly making a big push to put their chips into mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.
Aside from the upcoming clash, chips such as Qualcomm’s S4 and Intel’s Rosepoint represent a continuing trend of integrating more and more features into CPUs to increase power efficiency and lower overall costs for manufacturers. And while Qualcomm won’t be the only ARM player attempting to move into traditional x86 markets, they are in the best position to lead the charge. With smartphones, notebooks and tablet PCs accounting for the majority of the demand for Wi-Fi chipsets, as well as being key CPU markets, the stakes are high indeed.