IDF Day 2: Anand Chandrasekher: "MIDs: Platform for Innovation"


There should be no surprise here, but the technology that Chandrasekher says enables all of this is Intel's Atom processor. The Atrom has 47 million transistors--about the same as the Pentium, according to Chandrasekher--but the Atom is a fraction of the size of the Pentium 4 and has much cooler thermals. In fact, Chandrasekher said that Atom is the "coolest" processor Intel has ever built--pun intended.

Chandrasekher then invited Belli Kuttanna, chief CPU architect of Intel’s Ultra Mobility Group, to join him on the stage. Chandrasekher referred to Kuttanna as the "father of the Atom," as Kuttanna was the Atom's lead architect. Kuttanna said that the biggest challenges his team faced when developing the Atom processor (which at the time went by the codename Silverthorne) were:
  • Building a brand new processor that is based on Intel Architecture (IA)
  • Ensuring legacy compatibility
  • Hitting raw processing goals while maintaining low power consumption
Kuttanna referred to Atom as a "good first step," and said that there were more exciting things to come. He did not, however, elaborate on that comment.


Chandrasekher posed the question, how do you measure performance of a mobile, connected device? One way is by measuring Webpage render time. Compared against a 400MHz ARM 11-based Nokia N810, Chandrasekher reports that Atom renders pages from 4 to 16 times faster. But Chandrasekher also suggests that Webpages are only the beginning of what matters. Chandrasekher says these devices should be able to play games and HD video too.

And that's just what happened next, with Russ's assistance. They loaded up and played World of Warcraft on a MID. Next, they played a 1080p HD video on an Okyo MID. Chandrasekher said that was the first public display of an Atom-based MID playing back 1080p HD video. Chandrasekher claimed that the silicon in the unit was a final, shipping version and not an engineering sample.

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