Skip to main content

Intel continues trying to break into mobile with an assault of new Atom processors

intels atom family plays catch up in mobile space mobility announcements at mwc march 2015 final 6
There’s still work to do for Intel as it tries to catch market-leading Qualcomm in the mobile space, but the latest Atom Cherry Trail family unveiled at MWC looks to be a step in the right direction. The X3 hits the budget end of the market, while the X5 spans value and mid-range, and the X7 pushes into the flagship category.

Intel Atom X3

As affordability is obviously a key concern in the fastest-growing markets for mobile we find Intel rounding out its portfolio with the entry-level Atom X3, which comes in 3G, 3G-R and LTE flavors. The 3G is a dual-core 1GHz CPU, the 3G-R is a quad-core clocked at 1.2GHz, and the LTE is a quad-core at 1.4GHz with bundled NFC support. All are 64 bit and paired with Mali graphics.

Intel has integrated solutions covering connectivity in terms of Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC, FM radio, and Bluetooth. It’s also on its third generation LTE modem now, so there’s growing confidence about the strength of the overall package. The focus has been on improving performance and Intel showed off a chart that claims light media editing on the x3 LTE is twice as quick as comparable Qualcomm or MediaTek SoCs.

It’s working with a number of partners including Asus, Jolla, Pegatron, and Foxconn as it aims to get the x3 into budget smartphones, phablets, and tablets. Interestingly the x3 LTE will support Android and Windows 10 Mobile.

Intel Atom X5 and X7

Aimed squarely at the mid-range and premium end of the market, and mostly at tablets, the Atom x5 and x7 combine 64-bit CPUs with Intel graphics. Intel promises twice the graphics performance in GFXBench 2.7 and a 50 percent bump in 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited when compared to the previous generation’s Atom Z3795.

We can expect to see the X5 and X7 mostly in tablets, 2-in-1s, and notebooks with full Windows or, in some cases, Android. Despite the performance improvements power consumption is expected to be about the same as previous generations or comparable systems from competitors.

Intel has tried to add value with a new user experience which encompasses “RealSense” technology for better photo editing and depth in 3D imaging, Pro WiDi for wireless conference rooms, and True Key for multi factor authentication to secure devices. We’ve already seen this in Dell’s Venue 8 7000, a recent Atom-based tablet that won our Editor’s Choice award.

A new strategy

Last year Intel engaged in some “contra revenue” techniques to hit its goal of 40 million tablets, effectively burning through millions of dollars in an attempt to secure a share of mobile, by selling chips to tablet OEMs at below cost. The strategy let Intel beat its target, as 46 million tablets with the company’s shipped last year. This year it aims to scale back that strategy with Cherry Trail, but there’s a clear understanding that it is still very much playing catch up.

The introduction of the entry-level X3 gives it a portfolio that covers every market segment and shows an understanding of the importance of China and other emerging markets. It’s also offering OEMs customizable reference designs that enable them to hit the market in three months. It will be interesting to see if Intel can close the gap further in the year ahead.

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Hill
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Simon Hill is an experienced technology journalist and editor who loves all things tech. He is currently the Associate Mobile…
Intel teases 9th-generation Core i9 mobile processors at GDC 2019
Dell G3 Gaming Laptop Review

No mobile processor line offers more power than Intel’s Core i9 mobile hardware, and that high bar is about to get even higher. Intel teased the introduction of its ninth-generation Core i9 processors for mobile at a private event held in San Francisco alongside GDC 2019, though the company didn’t get into details.

What the tight-lipped chipmaker did say had less to do with the processors than with the laptops they’ll appear in. The company noted every ninth-generation Core i9 mobile processor will support Wi-Fi 6 AX200, Intel Optane memory, and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.

Read more
Intel Foveros is a ‘hybrid x86 architecture’ that pairs Core with Atom
Intel answers Qualcomm's new PC processors by pairing Core and Atom in 'Foveros'
Intel Announces The Xeon 5100 Microprocessor For Servers

Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President of Intel Architecture and Graphics Solutions

Intel has confirmed that it’s working on a discrete graphics solution for “client PCs,” which will arrive in 2020. That, however, is far from all Intel is working on.

Read more
A monstrous 28-core Xeon leads Intel’s new processor lineup
lntel announces high end xeon and core x series processors 9th gen intel spectre

Alongside the new Core i9-9900K processor, Intel today also announced new high-end Xeon and Core X Series processors. The new chips come packed with increased frequencies, and more cores and threads, with the primary target on developers, creatives, and PC enthusiasts.

First up are the Intel Core X-Series processors, which come with 8- to 18-core scalable options, and a turbo boost of up to 4.5GHz. Other features on this processor include solid thermal interface material, up to 68 platform PCIe Lanes, 4 Channel DDR4 Memory Support at 2666MHz, and Intel Optane SSD Support. Intel suggests a starting bulk pricing of $585, but didn't confirm individual pricing just yet.

Read more