Intel and Microsoft to put Atom chips into cars

4 Mar 2009

Intel has revealed its goal to target additional market segments for its Atom processor, which has already revolutionised low-cost computing with cars and internet phones leading Intel’s new ’embedded line-up’.

The company said yesterday that the low-power Intel Atom processor is behind much of Intel’s growth into several new computing-related market segments, extending the popular Intel architecture to embedded industries such as automotive in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), industrial control and automation, and media phones.

These products also enable market segment innovation through advancements in integrated 2D and 3D graphics, video acceleration and support for multiple operating systems, including several versions of Windows and Linux.

“With the addition of these new products, we can bring the benefits of Intel processors to new applications, devices and customers who develop products used in unconstrained thermal environments with low-power in mind,” said Doug Davis, vice-president, Digital Enterprise Group and general manager, Embedded and Communications Group, Intel.

“Meeting the needs of embedded environments and new market segments will play a large role in delivering the connectivity and functionality necessary as the number of devices connecting to the embedded internet is expected to grow to an estimated 15 billion devices by 2015,” Davis added, citing IDC figures.

The Intel Atom processor is the company’s smallest, built with the world’s smallest and most energy-efficient transistors.

Intel’s 30-year-old embedded computing division focuses on machines, devices and equipment that have computing and internet capabilities but are not traditional PCs, laptops or servers.

In addition to in-car applications, the Intel Atom Z5xx processor series also targets an emerging category of internet-based communications devices Intel calls “media phones”.

The package size and power envelope of the Intel Atom Z5xx series are ideal for the media phone, which provides communications services over internet protocol and easy, one-touch access to lifestyle applications such as email, text messaging, weather information, YouTube, horoscopes and digital photo albums.

“Intel is well known for innovation and we’re excited to see it introducing new low-power consumption Intel Atom processors targeted for in-vehicle systems,” said Greg Baribault, director of product management for the Automotive Business Unit at Microsoft.

“Intel Atom processors and the Microsoft Auto software platform will provide scalability for the new era of advanced in-vehicle solutions,” Baribault said.

By John Kennedy