Intel Corporation today unveiled an experimental computer chip based on a new process technology that combines the core components of today’s cellular phones and handheld computers. This integrated, “wireless-Internet-on-a-chip” technology could enable a new era of wireless Internet-access products with extensive battery life and greater processing power.
The new research chips feature logic (microprocessor), flash memory and analog communications circuits on a single piece of silicon built using a single manufacturing process. Each of these types of circuits is traditionally manufactured on separate process technologies in different factories.
Chips produced on the new process may be up to five times more powerful than those used in today’s cell phones, capable of operating at speeds of up to 1 GHz and providing up to a month of battery life. Intel engineers expect that the technology will make possible a broad range of wireless devices and a host of futuristic applications that are only imagined today.
“The wireless-Internet-on-a-chip technology extends Intel’s existing logic and flash silicon technology leadership,” said Sunlin Chou, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Technology and Manufacturing Group. “By carefully merging Intel’s low-power, high-performance logic technology with Intel’s high-density flash memory technology and adding precision analog elements, we are able to cost effectively integrate all the key silicon technology elements required for the next generation of wireless devices – without compromising performance or density.”
Said Ron Smith, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Wireless Computing and Communications Group: “In the last 10 years of mobile device evolution, we have seen integration technology add significant functionality and battery life while reducing size and cost to users. We believe Intel’s new process technology will extend this trend. Within the next five to 10 years, we should not be surprised to see devices such as wearable computers or even video watch phones become widely available.”
Sophisticated Process Technology Responsible for Integration Advancements
In architecting this technology, Intel engineers were able to overcome the complexities associated with the traditionally separate optimization paths for flash, logic and analog manufacturing processes. Now, instead of three separate manufacturing processes to produce three separate chips, the wireless-Internet-on-a-chip technology utilizes one process to place all three functions onto one chip.
This new process technology has been engineered in a modular fashion, providing a platform to enable future wireless products to combine flash, logic or analog functions in a variety of combinations. This allows Intel the unique ability to respond to the evolving wireless market with a wide variety of leadership product offerings, all built from the same silicon technology base.