Intel's Moorestown Platform to Get 3.5G Support

Intel's upcoming Moorestown chip platform will include optional support for high-speed cellular data services when it hits the market in 2009 or 2010, Intel said Monday.

Moorestown will be based on Lincroft, a system-on-chip that includes an Atom processor core and a memory controller hub, and a chipset called Langwell. Designed for small, handheld computers that Intel calls Mobile Internet Devices, Moorestown will offer optional support for both WiMax and HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) cellular networks.

Intel is heavily pushing WiMax, which it sees as the best option for future wireless broadband services. But WiMax availability is very limited and it will take time for networks to enter commercial operation and expand their coverage areas. The addition of HSPA support to Moorestown hints that Intel recognizes that WiMax may not be extensively deployed as quickly as it would like, and users will want an alternative way of connecting wirelessly outside of Wi-Fi hotspots.

This isn't the first time Intel has flirted with offering 3G (third generation telephony) support to computers. In 2007, the company shelved an agreement with Nokia to provide 3G modules for Centrino laptops, saying customer interest in the technology was lukewarm.

That appears to be changing. At the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco during August, Belgium's Option showed off HSPA modules it developed for MIDs based on Intel's Atom. On Monday, Intel announced that Option and telecom equipment maker Ericsson will make low-power HSPA modules that will be offered as an option with Moorestown.

Intel is making its own WiMax module for Moorestown. The module, code named Evans Peak, made an appearance at the Ceatec show in Japan during late September.

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