Intel shows first working Moorestown prototypes

Engineers got prototypes up and running in less than two months

Anand Chandrasekher, the senior vice president of Intel's ultra mobility group, showed off a handful of sleek prototype mobile devices containing its upcoming Moorestown platform at the Computex exhibition in Taipei on Thursday.

Moorestown is a chip platform designed for handheld computers that Intel calls mobile Internet devices (MIDs). The heart of Moorestown is a more power-efficient version of the Atom processor, named Lincroft, which is paired with a chipset called Langwell.

Intel claims Moorestown uses one-fiftieth the idle power of its predecessor, the Menlow platform. The new platform is available with a range of wireless options, including Wi-Fi, WiMax and 3G cellular connectivity.

"We're not yet in [volume] production. We're getting close," Chandrasekher said, declining to be pinned down on a precise date. The chips are currently available in samples, he said.

During his speech, Chandrasekher was joined on stage by executives from hardware makers Inventec Appliances, Quanta Computer and Elektrobit, who all have working handheld devices based on the chips.

The devices were all running the Moblin 2.0 version of Linux and are expected to hit the market early next year, company executives said.

Engineers managed to get the three devices working and ready for Computex in less than two months, a source familiar with the situation said, adding that Intel originally hoped to show five working prototypes at the show.

While Moorestown is nearing volume production, the current MID platform -- called Menlow -- continues to be used in new designs, a trend that is likely to continue into next year and overlap with the availability of Moorestown, Chandrasekher said.

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