After day zero at Mobile World Congress already boasting some impressive releases, Intel tackles their platform on dayone on several different fronts.
Th ex3 sits at the bottom, and is comprised of Bay Trail based SoCs at the 28nm no deal previously part of the SoFIA program aimed at emerging markets. There will be three x3 parts – a dual core x3, a quad core x3 from the Rockchip agreement, and a final quad core x3 with an integrated LTE modem.
The Rockchip model, indicated by the ‘RK’ at the end of the name of the SoC, comesfrom the partnership with Rockchip. At the time Intel discussed the roadmap for producing a quad core SoC with 3G for the China market along with Rockchip in the middle of 2015, which this provides.
The cooperation of Intel and Rockchip gives Intel greater resources to bring even more Intel-based products to market at an accelerate pace. It also increases the number of customers particularly in China, where Rockchip has especially strong market presence and customer relationships. Rockchip also has the opportunity to extend its product line with new designs.
This set raises some interesting points to discuss. Firstly is the use of 28nm is the same node as previous Intel Atoms, and thus should be derived from a TSMC source. It is also poignant to note that for these SoCs Intel is using a Mali GPU rather than the Gen 8 graphics and their own IP. This is due to the SoFIA program being aimed at bringing costs down and functionality into the low price points in a competitive time-to-market.