Design Con 2015

Intel makes a bid for Internet of Things with Quark X86 CPU

September 10, 2013

Bernard Cole-September 10, 2013

San Francisco, Ca. – At its developer conference  here, Intel Corp. caught attendees flat-footed with the announcement that it is developing a low power implementation of its X86 architecture called Quark.

Intel’s new chief executive Brian Krzanich provided no details when announcing it at his keynote at the conference except to say that it is x86 compatible, will be fabricated in a 32nm CMOS process, and targeted at the promising Internet of Things market.

In his keynote, Krzanich described Quark as a fifth the size and a tenth the power consumption of Atom. It's a synthesizable core Intel will let others use along with third-party silicon blocks in SoCs Intel will make. Designers will not be allowed to customize the Quark core. They can only connect third-party blocks to its fabric. Intel will allow some process tweaks for some customers, he said.

A reference board with the Quark that Intel is showing to selected companies runs on a Wind River embedded operating system supplemented with McAfee security software, the kind of embedded system stack Intel has promoting in a bid for a larger slice of the embedded market for a year or more.

"Our strategy is actually very simple," Krzanich said."Our plan is to lead in every segment of computing." That includes servers, laptops, tablets, and phones, but also other devices yet to be designed.”

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