Intel's New Atom Chips Are Just Waiting For Phones to Catch Up

Today at Mobile World Congress, Intel launched its latest dual-core 64-bit mobile processor, Merrifield, and spilled some of the beans on its upcoming follow-up, the quad-cored Moorefield. Now they're just looking for some devices to jump into.

Merrifeld, aka Intel Atom processor Z3480, runs on Intel's 22nm Silvermont microarchitecture, boasting speeds of 2.13GHz, and according to Intel, power-efficiency that rivals ARM-based chips. It'll start showing up in handsets sometime the second quarter of this year.

Moorefield meanwhile, ups the ante with an additional two cores to bring its speed up to 2.3GHz, and increased graphics capability. Moorefield won't be showing up in the wild until the second half of this year. According to Intel's benchmarks, both new chips beat out Apple's A7 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800, but those chips are no spring chickens anyway.

Intel has plans in place to throw its new chips in devices from Foxconn, Asus, and Lenovo, all of whom have have gone Intel before. And with those devices could come the first 64-bit version of Android, which was beaten to the punch by the long 64-bit iOS 7 and A7 pairings. That said, going 64-bit is mostly about the long game anyway.

Expect a few more Intel-powered phones to be coming your way soon, and fancy new 64-bit version of Android for them to run. But while Intel's certainly starting to catch up in the mobile game, there's never been a really killer phone with Intel inside. So even though Intel's making moves, it could still be a while before they're powering something you want. [Laptop Mag]