Intel to lead the CTE revolution: the first milestone has been achieved with the delivery of Rockchip-Intel XMM6321 dual chip SoC solution for rock bottom $40 3G smartphones and phablets, ready for phone and tablet products of sub $75 and more, with Intel’s SoFIA cores, HSPA+ and global LTE modems from December on

Explanation: CTE—  which was first presented as an ODM and supply chain concept in my earlier posts IDF14 Shenzhen: Intel is levelling the Wintel playing field with Android-ARM by introducing new competitive Windows tablet price points from $99 – $129 [this same blog, April 4-14, 2014] and Intel CTE initiative: Bay Trail-Entry V0 (Z3735E and Z3735D) SoCs are shipping next week in $129 Onda (昂达) V819i Android tablets—Bay Trail-Entry V2.1 (Z3735G and Z3735F) SoCs might ship in $60+ Windows 8.1 tablets from Emdoor Digital (亿道) in the 3d quarter [this same blog, April 11-14, 2014].

Rockchip-Intel XMM6321 dual SoC chip solution with ARM Cortex-A5 cores:

Rockchip-Intel XMM6321 2-chip 3G SoC solution -- 13-Oct-2014

which is also the basis of the upcoming SoFIA 3G, SoFIA 3G-R and SoFIA LTE solutions:

SoFIA Intel smart phone platform roadmap --15-Aug-2014

From Intel在进步 ,怎奈何平板行业时事艰辛 (Intel is advancing, but what are the current hardships of the tablet industry) [Pad News, Aug 15, 2014] when referring to a Weibu (微步) press release.

Weibu shows Intel/Rockchip XMM6321 dual-core ARM Cortex-A5 with 3G [ARMdevices.net YouTube channel, Nov 5, 2014]

Weibu is a PCB Design House, usually they mostly worked on designing x86 dektop motherboards using Intel x86 and AMD x86, but now with Intel making ARM in the Rockchip XMM6321, Weibu now also works on this ARM PCB design, to be used in very cheap 7″ 3-G connected Android tablets to be sold around the world. Take a tour here in their design house.

From 全新转型看大陆IC厂商本届香港展热点 (New transformation of city IC manufacturers are this year‘s Hong Kong Show hotspots) [press release, Oct 13, 2014] as corrected by XXM6321, the solution of the world most highly integrated 3G chip appeared part of an English press release of Nov 3

[At the exhibitionRockchip exposed the outcome of their mutual efforts—XMM6321, the world highest integrated 3G SOC solution in the press conference. It was designed mainly for entry level phone and phablet of 3.5 to 7 inches. XMM6321 has entered volume production stage in late October.

XMM6321 is an WCDMA SOC solution which supports two card two standby (3G&GSM) and integrated WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, PMU and some other components. XMM’s biggest highlight is its high integration, and it has three characteristics named as “one high and two low”:

  • Unlike most of other WCDMA solutions which still use 4 chips, XMM6321 has integrated WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, PMU and other components with only two chips. High integration would help terminal device manufactures reduce using of PCBA components during producing. It could also make the technology perfect and accelerate the production. Two chips make XMM6321’s damage rate much lower that other solutions which adopt four chips. Meanwhile, high integration brings better stability. Both 3G and GSM could support four frequency band, and OEM can match the frequency band flexibly.
  • Secondly, the power consumption of XMM6321 is low, and it has stable and mature baseband technique.XMM6321 adopted Intel baseband (Infineon), and the power consumption is very low. This baseband technique was worldwide certificated and maturely applied (Apple’s original iPhone adopts this baseband technique). In consideration of different recognition criteria in different countries and areas, Baseband normally has very high demand on frequency band, signal, sensitivity, stability and covering power. The stability of Baseband has brought Rockchip XMM6321 huge competitive advantage to step into the globle communication field.
  • Thirdly, the cost was greatly reduced, and the time of mass produce is shorten

Based on the 2 in 1 high integration, not only the produce process is much more easier but also the stability is higher, and these all could save the manufacturer more cost, and ensure the manufacture’s products coming into the market quickly.

Roadmap of Rockchip’s 3G/LTE 4G chip first appeared.

Rockchip published the detailed roadmap of products. It is understood that, Rockchip would launch SOFIA 3G series and SOFIA LTE series. All chips would adopt CPU of 64-bit computing and be optimized aiming at the Android L system platform. It is estimated that products of these series would come into the market at the first quarter of 2015. Five or six chips would appear in consumer market.

By publishing the brand new 3G/4G LTE communication solution, Rockchip has completed the leap transition and stepped into a new frontier. With more mature Baseband and other technique advantages, Rockchip is marching into the communication market.

From Rockchip and Intel Published 3G Communication Chip XMM6321 jointly [Rockchip press release, Oct 29, 2014]

In Hong Kong Electronic Exhibition (autumn) on October 13, 2014, Rockchip and Intel officially published 3G communication chip XMM6321 on press conference. As the world most highly integrated 3G chip, XXM6321 adopts Turnkey, and it has the baseband that has the most extensive coverage in the world. XXM 6321 mainly focus on the phone and phablet market of entry level, and it has the characteristic of “one high and two low”, namely high integration, low power consumption and low cost. There were many mass-produced terminal products released in thisconference, which would strongly shock the communication market. The first official appearance of XMM6321 made Rockchip complete brand new transition and step into new area. About ten days after the conference, phablet adopted XMM6321 has received an international order. The order belongs to Rockchip’s partner Skyth-Tek, and the buyer is from Touchmate, one of the most famous tablet brands in Dubai.

Rockchip-Intel XMM6321 based phablet order came first from Touchmate in Dubai on 29-Oct-2014

Intel makes ARM Processor in $40 Rockchip XMM6321 Tablets at Skyth-Tek PCB Design House [ARMdevices.net YouTube channel, Oct 30, 2014]

Intel is making their first Dual-core ARM Cortex-A5 processor with Rockchip called the Rockchip XMM6321 highly integrated 2-chip with baseband/RF/analog/GPS/WiFi/Bluetooth in the second chip, with an ARM Mali-400 GPU, targeted at sub-$40 3G-enabled Phablets, manufactured at TSMC (because the Intel Fab doesn’t manufacture 28nm anymore) and designed by the team coming from Intel’s Infineon ARM baseband group, here the Rockchip XMM6321 is being launched at the Skyth-Tek PCB Design House in Shenzhen China. Where they are now launching mass production of these Intel/Rockchip $40 ARM Phablets together with the ODM Firstview for 3K MOQ [http://www.efirstview.com/]. You can read the press release about XMM6321 here.

I have been predicting that this moment would happen for years. The next step is for Intel to also manufacture some high-end ARM Processors for Rockchip in their own 14nm Fab.

The Android Phablet market is growing very rapidly, the extremely affordable Phablet may become the first or main device that a Billion people use to access the Internet, as the potential market growth for the low-cost Android Phablet is so huge, especially in developing countries, it’s only normal that Intel must try to be a part of that market by letting their Infineon baseband division release this ARM Processor and to do it in partnership with Rockchip, as Rockchip has experience over the past 3-4 years of the explosive Tablet market growth in powering millions of affordable ARM Powered devices for the international mass market.

ACT Factory Tour, XMM6321 $30 Rockchip/Intel ARM Cortex-A5 3G Phone [ARMdevices.net YouTube channel, Oct 22, 2014]

ACT is one of the first factories to be starting mass production of the new $30 Smartphone on Dual-core ARM Cortex-A5 with 3G Infineon baseband made by Rockchip and Intel at TSMC. ACT Industrial makes about 10 thousand tablets per day, they can ramp that up as they plan to start the Rockchip XMM6321 entry-level Smartphone production here in the next week.

From 英特尔广泛携手合作伙伴释放平板产业创新动力 (Intel’s extensive cooperation with partners unleash the innovation power of the tablet industry)  [Intel China press release, Aug 6, 2014]

In the fourth quarter of this year Intel will go around computing platform innovations one step further. It plans to launch two major blockbuster platforms:

  • One is aimed at the entry-level and high performance/price ratio [cost-effectivemarkets [in the form ofthe first integrated mobile system-on-chip (SoC) platform—the SoFIA solution;
  • Second, the new 14 nm Cherry Trail platform, offering leading computing performance, superior graphics capabilities, and will significantly improve battery life and user experience [i.e. targeted at the high-end market].

Intel's 14nm Cherry Trail platform of 2015 offering a number of impovement over current Bay Trail -15-Aug-2014

Intel’s 14nm Cherry Trail platform of 2015 is offering a number of impovements over the current Bay Trail while power consumption is still under control with less than 2W. From Intel在进步 ,怎奈何平板行业时事艰辛 (Intel is advancing, but what are the current hardships of the tablet industry) [Pad News, Aug 15, 2014] when referring to a Weibu (微步) press release.

Intel Cherry Trail related slides from IDF Fall 2014 in San Francisco (Sept 9-11):

Cherry Trail to connect withe leading communications platforms from IDF 2014

Cherry Trail to connect with the leading communications platforms (from IDF Fall 2014, Sept 9-11)

Cherry Trail - Amazing SoC Roadmap with Innovations for Years to Come from IDF 2014

Cherry Trail – Amazing SoC Roadmap with Innovations for Years to Come (from IDF Fall 2014, Sept 9-11)

Earlier (Nov’13) information which is still the only one available:

Feature Improvements in Cherry Trail-T -- 15-Nov-2013

Feature Improvements in Cherry Trail-T (from Mullins may need a mulligan: Here’s a look at Intel’s Cherry Trail-T [VR-ZONE, Nov 15, 2013]) 

Graphics Feature Comparison Bay Trail-T vs. Cherry Trail-T

Graphics Feature Comparison Bay Trail-T vs. Cherry Trail-T (from First look at new features on Cherry Trail’s GPU [VR-ZONE, Nov 17, 2013])  

Intel President: Why we missed the mobile revolution [Fortune Magazine YouTube channel, July 14, 2014]: Renee James discusses internal changes in Intel’s business models and explains why the chip-maker didn’t catch on to mobile earlier on.

From Why Innovation Waits for Nobody, Stops for Nothing [IQ by Intel “tech culture magazine“, June 4, 2014]

James [Intel President Renee James on stage at Computex] made the first phone call on a smartphone built with Intel’s forthcoming system-on-a-chip codenamed SoFIA. She pointed out that that the dual core chip will be manufactured by nearby chip manufacturing foundry, TSMC. SoFIA will have integrated 3G and starts shipping to phone makers by the end of this year. A quad-core and 4G LTE versions shipping in the first half of next year.

From: Intel delivering the future of Mobile Experience at Computext Taipei 2014  [event fact sheet, June 4, 2014]

Foxconn also said it plans to deliver mobile devices based on Intel’s new integrated mobile SoC, codenamed SoFIA. To further extend its support from the industry, Intel is expanding its reference design program for tablets to include a turnkey solution for phones based on SoFIA. Intel’s reference design program provides master reference designs, tools and brand support to help partners innovate on Intel architecture.

Intel Reboots Mobile Approach Ahead of Budget Chip Launch [Video | Reuters.com, Oct 15, 2014]: While PC sales look healthy at last, the world’s top chipmaker is still struggling to break into the smartphone market. Intel China executive WK Tan* outlines plans to power $75 dollar handsets.
[*WK Tan VP, Intel Architecture Group & GM, Mobile and Communications Group, China]

Earnings from Intel – the world’s top chipmaker – back in good standing at last.

A recovery in traditional PC sales powering Q3 profits of 3.3 billion dollars, and revenues of 14.6 billion dollars, both slightly above market forecasts.

That rebound pushing Intel shares up about 25 percent this year so far. But the silicon producer has a serious problem: mobile.

The firm’s tablet and smartphone unit bringing in a paltry one million dollars in revenue, a drop in the bucket for this fast-growing segment.

Intel’s game plan to address that? Generous subsidies for manufacturers who use its tablet chip, and tie-ups with Chinese mobile chip designers like Spreadtrum and Rockchip.

That should help smooth the entry of Intel’s new SoFIA platform which will allow for very aggressively priced smartphones, according to Intel China executive WK Tan.

[WK Tan, Vice President of Mobile and Communications Group, Intel]:
“We think we’re going to hit the market in quarter one next year. You should be able to see phones on shelf. And how cheap it’s going to be will depend on our customers because with the SoFIA platform you could actually make a range of phones and tablets. We should be able to see phones that is about below 75 dollars.”

[John Gordon, Reuters Reporter]:
“So the 3G part comes out first for SoFIA and then you’ve got the 4G coming up after that. Is that going to be Q2 2015?”

[WK Tan, Vice President of Mobile and Communications Group, Intel]:
“We’re going to have the first version of the SoFIA LTE, which is a 4G product that you’re talking about. We’re going to release a first reference design somewhere in June, in early June, that is the target.”

[John Gordon, Reuters Reporter]:
“Now historically Intel’s been vertically integrated, you’ve now bought a stake in Spreadtrum just as this chip’s coming out. So does this point to a new attitude within Intel?”

[WK Tan, Vice President of Mobile and Communications Group, Intel]:
“I think one of the things that we could probably learn from our Chinese partners is that, maybe it’s the flexibility perhaps, and the speed at which they address the market. I think this is something that is not within our DNA, but to work with accomplished players like this in a market that has already achieved some success in the areas where they participate, I think this can only be good for us as we strive to be better.”

[John Gordon, Reuters Reporter]:
“Right. We’re hearing reports of some softening of demand within the smartphone space and tablet space within China. Do you get a sense that is the case?”

[WK Tan, Vice President of Mobile and Communications Group, Intel]:
“The – we are not seeing that much of a softening in the smartphones. Tablet maybe, you know there’s a little bit of softening in the Q1 and Q2, but things are kind of picking up in Q3. That’s what we are seeing. And smartphones, I’m not hearing any drastic reduction or something like this. In fact, we believe that the entry value space will continue to gain quite significantly. As you can read, some of the Chinese players are gaining places in the world-wide, so called, smartphone or tablet ranking.”

[John Gordon, Reuters Reporter]:
“So you made a target of 40 million for tablets I think this year. Are you on track for that, and what kind of target will you have for next year?”

[WK Tan, Vice President of Mobile and Communications Group, Intel]:
“Yes. We are definitely on track with the 40 million, you know. As for the target for next year, I think this is still being discussed.”

Intel may stop providing subsidies for mobile solutions; switch to providing support through different methods [DIGITIMES, Oct 21, 2014]

With better-than-expected performance in the third quarter of 2014, some market watchers have speculated that Intel will stop providing subsidies for its mobile device solutions to eliminate losses from the business; however, sources from PC players believe Intel is likely to continue offering subsidies to some of its larger clients, such as Asustek Computer, through different methods in order to maintain orders.

Asustek responded by stating it does not comment on market speculation, while Intel said that the company’s has not announced specific timing for the discontinuation of contra revenues for the mobile segment, but is now focused on cost reduction for both the platform and the overall platform BOM. Intel is adding SoCs (SoFIA) that are designed specifically for the segment to its roadmap and expects related product- and bill of materials-costs to decline meaningfully as new, more cost-competitive products are introduced.

The sources pointed out that Intel has been aggressively providing subsidies and assistance on technology and marketing to first-tier brand vendors as well as white-box players in China, looking to expand its share in the mobile device market. Asustek is currently the largest client of Intel’s handset and tablet platforms.

In 2014, Asustek placed orders for over 7.5 million Atom processors with Intel for its ZenFone- series smartphones. Including orders for its MeMO Pad 7/8, Transformer Pad, Fonepad, Windows 8-based tablets, T100 2-in-1 and PadFone X mini, Intel received at least 15 million CPU orders from the Taiwan-based vendor in the year.

The sources believe that Intel is mainly stopping its subsidies to China’s white-box players as its cooperation with Tsinghua Unigroup should no longer require the CPU giant to promote its products in China.

Spreadtrum Communications, a CPU subsidiary of Tsinghua, will develop x86-based SoCs jointly with Intel and will also be responsible for selling the CPUs in China. With Spreadtrum’s existing channels and clients, Intel will not need to offer subsidies to attract partners in China.

Since orders from first-tier brand vendors are still handled by Intel, the sources believe that the CPU maker is unlikely to risk losing high-volume orders from these clients.

The sources pointed out that Asustek is expected to ship at least 15 million ZenFone smartphones in 2015. Asustek is set to announce its second-generation ZenFone-series devices in the first quarter of 2015.

From Intel CEO sees China chip partners moving away from rival technology [Reuters, Nov 11, 2014]

Intel Corp Chief Executive Brian Krzanich expects new semiconductor partners in China to migrate to the U.S. chipmaker’s architecture within a few years and give up on ARM technology more widely used in smartphones and tablets.

Intel this year signed deals with Rockchip and Spreadtrum Communications to use Intel’s technology to make chips for low-cost smartphones and tablets aimed at China’s fast-growing consumer market.

While the agreements with Intel do not prevent the Chinese chipmakers from continuing to make ARM-based chips, Krzanich told reporters late on Monday he believes that within two or three years they will exclusively use Intel’s architecture.

With leading mobile chipmaker Qualcomm Inc offering high-end chips based on ARM and Taiwan’s MediaTek attacking the Chinese market with inexpensive chips also designed using ARM, adopting Intel’s architecture and cutting-edge factories offer a way to differentiate with better performance and features, Krzanich said.

“If you’re a small guy trying to compete, it’s tough to be in that battle.”

Intel and Rockchip are working on an Intel-branded tablet SoC, with Rockchip contributing expertise on connectivity, graphics and its experience in China’s domestic market.

Spreadtrum, as part of a deal by Intel to buy 20 percent of its parent company for $1.5 billion, is working with Intel on SoCs expected out next year.

Since they are relatively small, both Chinese chipmakers probably do not have the resources to make separate chips based on Intel and ARM technology over the long term, Krzanich said.

Intel Enters into Strategic Agreement with Rockchip to Accelerate, Expand Portfolio of Intel-Based Solutions for Tablets [press release, May 27, 2014]

Intel Corporation today announced it has entered into a strategic agreement withRockchip to expand the breadth of and accelerate the rate at which it brings its Intel® architecture and communications-based solutions to market for a range of entry-level Android* tablets worldwide.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will deliver an Intel-branded mobile SoC platform. The quad-core platform will be based on an Intel® Atom™ processor core integrated with Intel’s 3G modem technology.

Expanding the offerings in Intel’s SoFIA family of integrated mobile SoC platforms for entry and value Android mobile devices, the new quad-core SoFIA 3G part is expected to be available in the first half of 2015. It will be targeted primarily at entry and value tablets. 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.

As the tablet market continues to expand with greater choice of screen size, form factor and price, the strategic agreement with Rockchip also enables Intel to ramp new customers with a broader portfolio of products faster.

“The strategic agreement with Rockchip is an example of Intel’s commitment to take pragmatic and different approaches to grow our presence in the global mobile market by more quickly delivering a broader portfolio of Intel architecture and communications technology solutions,” said Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO. “We are excited to work with Rockchip. With today’s announcement we’ve added yet another derivative to the Intel SoFIA family, and we expect to have them all in market before the middle of 2015. We are moving with velocity to grow Intel’s offerings for the growing global tablet market.”

The strategic agreement with Intel expands Rockchip’s product portfolio with the addition of the performance and flexibility of the Intel architecture and leading communications solutions.

“We are always looking for innovative ways to differentiate our product portfolio, and the first-of-its-kind collaboration with Intel helps us do this,” said Min Li, Rockchip CEO. “The combination of Intel’s leading architecture and modem technology with our leading mobile design capability brings greater choice to the growing global market for mobile devices in the entry and value segments.”

With today’s announcement, the Intel SoFIA family is now made up of three different offerings, including the dual-core 3G version expected to ship in the fourth quarter of this year, the quad-core 3G version that is expected to ship in the first half of 2015, and the LTE version, also due in the first half of next year.

Pricing for the quad-core SoFIA 3G part will be disclosed at a later date, and like the broader Intel SoFIA family, it is expected to be price competitive. Under the agreement, both Intel and Rockchip will sell the new part to OEMs and ODMs, primarily into each company’s existing customer base.

Intel and Tsinghua Unigroup Collaborate to Accelerate Development and Adoption of Intel-based Mobile Devices [press release, Sept 25, 2014]: Intel to Invest Up to RMB 9 Billion (US$1.5 Billion) in Semiconductor Business under Tsinghua Unigroup

Intel Corporation and Tsinghua Unigroup Ltd. (“Tsinghua Unigroup”), an operating subsidiary of Tsinghua Holdings Co., Ltd., a solely state-owned limited liability corporation funded by Tsinghua University in China, today jointly announced that both parties have signed a series of agreements. The purpose of the agreements is to expand the product offerings and adoption for Intel-based mobile devices in China and worldwide by jointly developing Intel® Architecture and communications-based solutions for mobile phones. Intel also has agreed to invest up to RMB 9 billion (about US$1.5 billion) for a minority stake of approximately 20 percent of the holding company under Tsinghua Unigroup  which will own Spreadtrum Communications and RDA Microelectronics, subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.

Both Spreadtrum and RDA, controlled by Tsinghua Unigroup, are leading fabless semiconductor companies in China, which develop mobile chipset platforms for smart phones, feature phones and other consumer electronics products, supporting 2G, 3G and 4G wireless communications standards.

“China is now the largest consumption market for smartphones and has the largest number of Internet users in the world,” said Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO. “These agreements with Tsinghua Unigroup underscore Intel’s 29-year-long history of investing in and working in China. This partnership will also enhance our ability to support a wider range of mobile customers in China and the rest of the world by more quickly delivering a broader portfolio of Intel architecture and communications technology solutions.”

Mr. Zhao Weiguo, Chairman and President of Tsinghua Unigroup, added, “It has become a national priority of China to grow its semiconductor industry. The strategic collaboration between Tsinghua Unigroup and Intel ranges from design and development to marketing and equity investments, which demonstrate Intel’s confidence in the Chinese market and strong commitment to Chinese semiconductor industry, which will accelerate the technology development and further strengthen the competitiveness and market position of Chinese semiconductor companies.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. will jointly create and sell a family of Intel Architecture-based system-on-chips (SoCs). Initial products will be available beginning in the second half of next year and will be Intel Architecture-based SoCs sold by both companies.

“The adoption of Intel’s architecture technology will enable us to accelerate the development of mobile SoCs that expand the breadth of our portfolio, benefiting handset makers addressing both China and the global market,” said Dr. Leo Li, Chairman and CEO of Spreadtrum. “We are pleased to embark on collaboration with Intel around these new product offerings.”

The companies expect Intel’s investment to close in early 2015.

About Nacsa Sándor

Lazure Kft. • infokommunikációs felhő szakértés • high-tech marketing • elérhetőség: snacsa@live.com Okleveles villamos és automatizálási mérnök (1971) Munkahelyek: Microsoft, EMC, Compaq és Digital veterán. Korábban magyar cégek (GDS Szoftver, Computrend, SzáMOK, OLAJTERV). Jelenleg Lazure Kft. Amire szakmailag büszke vagyok (időrendben visszafelé): – Microsoft .NET 1.0 … .NET 3.5 és Visual Studio Team System bevezetések Magyarországon (2000 — 2008) – Digital Alpha technológia vezető adatközponti és vállalati szerver platformmá tétele (másokkal együttes csapat tagjaként) Magyarországon (1993 — 1998) – Koncepcionális modellezés (ma használatos elnevezéssel: domain-driven design) az objektum-orientált programozással kombinált módon (1985 — 1993) – Poszt-graduális képzés a miniszámítógépes szoftverfejlesztés, konkurrens (párhuzamos) programozás és más témákban (1973 — 1984) Az utóbbi időben általam művelt területek: ld. lazure2.wordpress.com (Experiencing the Cloud) – Predictive strategies based on the cyclical nature of the ICT development (also based on my previous findings during the period of 1978 — 1990) – User Experience Design for the Cloud – Marketing Communications based on the Cloud
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