Intel plans new 'Braswell' chip for PCs, over 20 Chromebooks

The Braswell chip is targeted at entry-level products like desktops and notebooks

Intel is preparing a new "Braswell" chip to succeed its power-efficient Bay Trail processor found in PCs besides working on bringing over 20 Chromebook designs to the market this year.

"Last year, we had only four designs on Chrome. Today I can announce that we will have over 20 designs on Chrome," said Kirk Skaugen, general manager of Intel's PC Client group, on Thursday.

It's the latest sign that momentum is growing behind Google's Chrome OS, as Intel is also relying on Android to help lift its mobile processor fortunes.

Skaugen also mentioned that Intel was developing a processor, code-named Braswell, that will be used to build entry-level desktops, notebooks and convertibles. The chip will be designed with Intel's 14-nanometer manufacturing process, but Skaugen declined to say when the chip will arrive.

Previously, Intel has also said it is working on a 14-nanometer chip called Cherry Trail, a follow-up to its 22-nm Bay Trail chip. Cherry Trail, however, will be in use in tablets.

In the meantime, Intel is updating its Bay Trail chips, part of its Atom line, by reducing the components and the cost of the processors, said Hermann Eul, the company's general manager for its mobile and communication business. In this year's second half, the company will add performance upgrades to Bay Trail, including better graphics, and more security features.

The Bay Trail chip, already in use in new tablets, is expected to help Intel lift its fortunes in the mobile processor business. This year, the company wants to ship 40 million tablets with Intel chips, four time more than 2013.

Prices for Intel-powered tablets will reach below US$100, Eul said, adding that Intel is working on over 80 tablet designs.

The company executives made the announcements at the Intel Developer Forum in Shenzhen, a Chinese city that's also a hub for tech manufacturing. Intel plans to spend US$100 million to fund Chinese product development in PCs, mobile devices and wearables.

On Thursday, Eul called on Chinese vendors to partner with Intel on building and selling tablets. The U.S. chip maker has access to over 140,000 retailers and resellers across 150 countries.

Intel, however, faces an uphill battle in popularizing its mobile processors. Rival chips built with designs from ARM are dominating the tablet and smartphone market.

The U.S. chipmaker hopes to differentiate itself by creating unique content for Intel-powered devices. On Thursday, it announced it would establish a lab with Chinese Internet giant Tencent to develop exclusive gaming content. This includes special features for certain games, or brand new titles.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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