New Mobile Technology (Intel, 2008 – present)

Processors intended for mobile and embedded use are very much needed in our growing mobile-first world. While Intel has met some of that need with variations of Skylake and other processors, the Intel Atom is more of a true mobile processor, as that’s the goal of the Atom — to meet the needs of mobile equipment.

Intel Atom

The Intel Atom originally launched in 2008, aimed at providing a solution for netbooks and a variety of embedded applications in different industries, such as health care. It was originally designed on the 45nm process, but in 2012 was brought all the way down to the 22nm process.  The first generation of Atom processors were actually based on the Bonnell microarchitecture.

Like we said, the Atom is used in many different embedded applications within a variety of industries. In comparison to the rest of the processors we listed, it’s a pretty unknown processor. But, it does power a large amount of health care equipment as well as equipment for other services we use.

Most variations of the Intel Atom have an on-die GPU. And generally, you’re going to see very small clock speeds with the Intel Atom CPUs. Keep in mind that that’s not a bad thing, though. The major differences between Intel’s Core processors and the Atom is that the Atom was designed for extremely low power and low performance applications. Efficiency is key here. That said, an old Core i3 will knock an Atom out of the park in terms of performance any idea. But, there’s no comparison since the two processors have very different goals.

At least for those that follow technology blogs, the Intel Atom made more of a name for itself when Intel partnered with Google in 2012 to provide support for Google’s Android mobile operating system on Intel x86 processors. That said, Intel began offering a new system-on-a-chip (SoC) platform with its Atom line of processors. Early on, there were some overheating issues, but Intel eventually worked out the issues.

Unfortunately, the SoC market is already a crowded industry with fierce competition from Samsung, Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Texas Instruments and so many more. That said, Intel has essentially given up on the smartphone and tablet, throwing away billions of dollars the company spent trying to expand into it. Like we said, it’s a market with fierce competition, and Intel didn’t see a place for itself there anymore. The most recent development is that they cancelled two new Atom chips intended for the smartphone market — Sofia and Broxton. We haven’t heard anything since then.

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