Intel Intros "Tunnel Creek" Atom-Based System On Chip

What's a company to do after coming off of their best Q1 in recent memory? Forge ahead in the never-ending pursuit of processor perfection. Today, out of nowhere really, Intel announced plans for a new Atom processor-based System-On-Chip, but it won't go where you might expect. Instead of aiming this product at netbooks, Intel is positioning "Tunnel Creek" for IP phones, printers and in-vehicle-infotainment systems for cars, all of which could honestly use a boost in processing power.

As of now, Chinese automaker HawTai is planning to incorporate Intel Atom processor and MeeGo software in future in-vehicle-infotainment platform, and outside of the phone world, this is the first time we've seen exactly what Intel plans to do with MeeGo. There's also a partnership lined up with China Mobile, and by the sound of it, the possibilities here are just short of endless.

The forthcoming SoC will feature an Atom core that for the first time, will let other companies create PCI Express-compliant devices that directly connect to the chip, which offers new flexibility for embedded applications. Basically, it opens an entirely new world for the Atom line to explore, and while we have griped about the Atom being a tad sluggish in some netbooks, they would be plenty powerful for a host of embedded solutions.

Imaging an Atom/MeeGo system in your next vehicle. The navigation and Internet experience would be second to none, mostly unlike anything available in even high-end cars today. Or what about home power management systems? Or even electric car charging stations? It doesn't take long to understand just how far a low-powered Atom could go in changing the way we live, and we're hoping that this announcement is just the tip of the iceberg.