Intel on Tuesday shared plans to leapfrog the smartphone era with a new family of micro chips for devices designed to be worn, embedded in everyday objects or ingested.
“It’s very much the next frontier,” said to Financial Times, Renée James, Intel’s president. “It takes us down to a level we haven’t been at before.” After reacting late to the touchscreen mobile device markets, “we are very committed to not missing the next one,” she added.
The new model of chips, called Quark after the subatomic particle of the same name, are intended for what many in the tech world hope will represent the industry’s next big opportunities: “wearable” computers like smartwatches and the spread of intelligence to everyday objects.
Among the most promising uses of the new chips are medical applications, such as smartbandages that monitor vital signs and disposable sensors designed to be swallowed or injected, Ms James said.
Unveiling Quark at Intel’s annual developer event in San Francisco, Chief Executive Mr Krzanich showed off devices running chips that the company claims will finally make it fully competitive in smartphones and tablets. They included the first tablet processor from Intel designed specifically for Google’s Android operating system.
Intel said the first chips made on its cutting-edge 14 nanometer technology would start production late this year and be available in 2014, helping it extend its competitive lead in manufacturing. Intels most advanced chips are currently made with 22 nanometer production technology, which is already more advanced than production lines at Intel rivals like Samsung and TSMC.
Intel is also on focus this week to demonstrate its processors for the first time powering Chromebooks, Google-designed laptops that have won backing by some traditional PC makers.
In another attempt to reach deeper into the mobile world, Intel also demonstrated an ultra-low power PC chip producing so little heat that it doesn’t require a fan to cool. The processor would further blur the line between tablets and PCs, according to the company.