Smartphones packing Intel Merrifield launching in 2014

Intel showed off its latest smartphone reference design at Computex, in Taiwan, as the chipmaker looks to make up ground in the mobile market.

Tom Kilroy, executive vice president at Intel revealed a smartphone running the Merrifield processor, the codenamed given to the forthcoming 22nm Atom system-on-chips (SoCs).

He claimed that the Merrifield chip will deliver twice the performance of its predecessor and devices will officially be launched at Mobile World Congress in 2014.

Kilroy also claimed that the Merrifield chips will offer "much improved" battery life although he declined to go into specifics.

Meanwhile, he confirmed tablets powered by Bay Trail processors will ship later in 2013. These will be available in quad-core varieties, offer twice the performance of the previous generation and support resolutions up to 2560 x 1440, he explained.

Tablets using Bay Trail processors will offer up to 8 hours of battery life and will support both the Android and Windows platforms, according to Intel.

The next-gen devices using Bay Trail and Merrifield are also expected to be able to support 4G connectivity. This will be done by incorporating the Intel XMM 7160 modem into devices.

At present there is no timeframe for when Intel's chip will have 4G functionality built into chips, but this shouldn't pose too much of a problem as the 7160 modem is small enough to be used in smartphones.

Intel has confirmed to IT Pro devices running its chips will be 4G-ready in "Q1 2014, in conjunction with carrier readiness".

The launch of the next-gen Atom chips marks an important milestone for Intel as it goes head-to-head with ARM licensees such as Qualcomm.

Atom chips are found in a handful of smartphones at present including the Motorola Razr i. However, Intel is expected to kick-on with a number of contract wins including a possible tie up with Samsung.

Both the Merrifield and Bay Trail processors are based on the revamped architecture codenamed "Silvermount". This is the first redesign of the Atom since it was first introduced in netbooks in 2008, and represents the start of a yearly refresh cycle.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.