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Intel teams up with Rockchip for low-cost quad-core SoFIA chip

Intel Corp. on Tuesday announced that it has entered into a strategic agreement with Rockchip, a developer of low-cost system-on-chips for mobile devices. Under the terms of the agreement, Rockchip will design an entry-level Intel Atom-based application processor for inexpensive tablets featuring Google Android operating system.

At present not a lot is known about the new platform that will be developed by Rockchip for Intel. The two companies said that it would carry the Intel brand, integrate four Atom cores as well as Intel 3G modem technology. The new quad-core SoFIA 3G part is expected to be available in the first half of 2015. It is unknown whether the Rockchip-designed SoFIA will feature Silvermont or more advanced Airmont micro-architecture. All SoFIA chips will be produced by a contract manufacturer.

With today’s announcement, the Intel SoFIA family now consists of three different offerings, including the dual-core 3G version expected to ship in the Q4 2014, the quad-core 3G version that is projected to be available in the first half of 2015, and the LTE version, also due in the first half of next year.

The Intel SoFIA family was added to Intel’s mobile product roadmap late last year and includes Intel’s first integrated applications processor and communications platform. The SoFIA is aimed at the inexpensive mobile devices.

intel_atom_merrifield

An Intel Atom processor with Silvermont cores.

Pricing for the quad-core SoFIA 3G part will be disclosed later, like the broader Intel SoFIA family, it is expected to be relatively low. Under the terms of the deal, both Intel and Rockchip will sell the new part to OEMs and ODMs, primarily into each company’s existing customer base.

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KitGuru Says: It looks like Intel wants to enter the market of mobile SoCs so badly that it actually contracts third-party makers to design chips for it. But will that help (especially in case of a 3G SoFIA)? Only time will tell!

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