One of the world’s largest semiconductor chip maker has partnered with China’s fastest growing fabless semiconductor company to bring next-gen Intel Atom processors to low-cost Android tablets. Intel announced that it has entered into an agreement with Rockchip to bring its architecture to entry-level tablets worldwide. Under this agreement both companies will be working to deliver a device using the Intel Atom quad-core processor.
Rockchip is best known for its ARM processors being used in tablets and set-top boxes. The company is also known to be a fabless semiconductor company which means that it outsources the fabrication of its chips while keeping the bulk of its resources concentrated on research and development. This allows for lower overall cost per chip manufactured.
In announcing the partnership Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said that “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. 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.”
Rockchip CEO Min Li on the other hand said that “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. 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.”
Both companies are expected to benefit from the partnership. Intel will now have a way to rapidly distribute its chips to the market quickly. This allows it to be used by more products and ultimately capture a bigger slice of the Android tablet market. Rockchip will be able to gain insights on some of the latest technologies of Intel for mobile devices.
The SoFIA line of processors which both companies will be working on is a new line of chip that combines Intel’s Atom processor with an embedded modem. This modem could be 3G or LTE.
The first chip Rockchip will be working on is Intel’s SoFIA dual-core processor with integrated 3G modem. This product is expected to ship out in Q4 2014. The quad-core SoFIA processors with integrated 3G modem is expected to ship out in the first half of next year alongside the version with the LTE modem.
The prices of the chips haven’t been disclosed yet however it is expected to be priced competitively. Both companies expect to sell the chips to each of their customer base.