Intel unveils Quark SoC for Internet of Things

Intel has unveiled another SoC range that is specifically designed for ultra low-powered products, in addition to confirming it is actively working on reference designs relating to wearable technology.

The Quark family is set to be Intel's smallest SoC to-date. Brian Krzanich, Intel's CEO, introduced the chip onstage at Intel Developer Forum (IDF) and revealed that it is one fifth the size of the Atom processor and uses a tenth of the power.

The CEO did not reveal any further technical specifications about the Quark chipset, but a quick calculation comparing it to the Atom chips suggests the SoC could be 10nm in size.

"It is fully synthesisable with an open architecture and ecosystem. It is designed for the Internet of Things," Krzanich said during his keynote.

"We have reference designs for industrial Internet of Things. These are boards designed to be on the edges of the network out in extreme environments to connect machines back to the internet."

Krzanich also showed off a couple of wearable designs on stage, but didn't reveal any time frame as to when these can be expected to make it to market.

"The idea is not that necessarily for Intel to bring these to market, it's to come up with devices that partners could use to develop their own products in this open ecosystem," he added.

This reference design approach is something Intel has been favouring in the 2-in-1 Ultrabook, tablet and smartphone market.

ARM-licensees such as Qualcomm have already shown interest in the wearable market by debuting its Toq smartwatch and it remains to be seen whether Intel's Quark SoCs will be able to capture a significant slice of this burgeoning market.

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.