Intel announces tiny embedded SoC, promises further PC power savings

|About: Intel Corporation (INTC)|By:, SA News Editor

On the first day of the Intel Developer Forum (INTC +0.4%), the chip giant has unveiled Quark, an SoC meant for embedded/wearable devices that's said to be 1/5 the size of a standard Atom CPU and 10x more power-efficient. Quark is expected to ship next year; a version of the chip meant for medical applications will be ingestible.

The announcement comes as smartwatch design activity heats up; Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Gear last week, and Qualcomm showed off its Toq reference smartwatch (built with the goal of driving chip/display sales). Smartwatch developers have been almost uniformly relying on ARM-based CPUs thus far.

Intel also says its next-gen, 14nm, Broadwell PC CPUs (due in 2H14) are already showing a "30% power improvement" over the current-gen Haswell in tests. Haswell itself has delivered big battery life improvements over the prior-gen Ivy Bridge.

Also of note: 1) Intel promises sub-$100 tablets (presumably Android-based) will arrive this holiday season; the company had previously promised sub-$200 laptops. 2) Intel has launched new Ivy Bridge Core i7 desktop CPUs, and new low-power Haswell Core i3 notebook CPUs. Intel claims one of the Haswell chips consumes only 4.5W in certain use cases.