Intel makes Atom reconfigurable with Stellarton
By Nicole Kobie in San Francisco
Posted on 14 Sep 2010 at 23:06
Intel has today unveiled its first "reconfigurable" Atom system, dubbed Stellarton.
The processor is based on the system on a chip (SoC) Atom design codenamed Tunnel Creek, but adds an Altera field-programmable gate array, allowing customers to install proprietary silicon within the chip package.
This will give developers working in embedded systems more flexibility to configure hardware after manufacture, and should help reduce the time it takes to add new features.
Stellarton will arrive in the first half of next year, Intel vice president Doug Davis announced in a keynote speech at IDF. Non-programmable Tunnel Creek chips will be sold under the name Atom E600.
Groveland becomes Atom CE4200
Intel also revealed that its Groveland processor would be sold as the Atom CE4200. The chip is designed for use in set-top boxes, and includes support for 3D and H.264 encoding, as well as streaming eight different channels simultaneously to receiver devices.
"Expanding your entertainment options, it gives you content where you want it and when you want it," Davis said.
The CE4200 will also include integrated power management, which Davis said will help manufacturers stay within energy regulations - though the chip is still built on a 45nm fabrication process, implying higher power demands than the newer 32nm process.
Finally, Davis held up a wafer of dies for Oak Trail, the forthcoming SoC Atom platform designed for tablets. He swiftly showed off two devices already running the Oak Trail silicon, a tablet and a gaming device.
Pushing out Atom
Intel has shipped 70 million Atom chips, mostly for use in netbooks, but the chip maker was keen to show how Atom is also moving into digital signs, tablets and smart TVs.
Microsoft's director of marketing for Windows Embedded Barb Edson stepped on stage to unveil an Atom-based set-top box running an embedded version of Windows Media centre.
Set to arrive next year, the system is a hybrid model that supports web content, local media and regular broadcast transmissions. "The reality is, all of us are going to be watching broadcast TV for years to come," she noted.
Intel also showed off the MeeGo-based WeTab tablet, due to hit the market in Germany next week. Made by Neofonie and 4tiitoo, the 11in tablet promises a quick boot up time of 16 seconds.
"That's the reason we switched to MeeGo," said Stephan Odorfer, CEO of 4tiitoo. "It's a very comprehensive OS, but on the other hand, very lightweight."
- Is it worth upgrading a media centre to Windows 8?
- Flickr redesign: is it enough to tempt photographers back?
- Hands on with the new Google Maps
- Nokia Lumia 925 review: first look
- Why I won't subscribe to Creative Cloud
- GoPro camera strapped to a remote-control helicopter: the ultimate boy's toy
- Acer Iconia A1 review: first look
- Acer Aspire P3 review: first look
- Acer Aspire R7 review: first look
- How we produce the PC Pro podcast
- The ICO's shame-faced u-turn on cookies
- Start8 and ModernMix: making Windows 8 work on a desktop
- How to boost your mobile reception
- How to fix Facebook: Social Fixer
- Taking the stress out of WordPress updates
- Where to download free web fonts
- Turn your tablet into a Sky+ remote control
- How to measure the success of a new IT system
- Three years on: the state of the tablet market
- Windows 8: what works and what doesn't