Intel's newest lineup of CPUs, codenamed Broadwell, will be coming out of the gate in the very near future. Powered by the latest in chipset fabrication technologies, the Broadwell CPUs have transistors that are only 14 nanometers in size, making these the smallest transistors in a commercially available CPU in history. We've talked recently about what Intel has been doing in the processor space and how it's going to affect the mobile world, but now we're getting some more information from CPU World about the specifics of the inner-workings of Intel's newest line of processors, and they are pretty darned exciting. For quite some time now Qualcomm has ruled the mobile world with its ARM chipsets, which are a very different type of CPU than what is in your laptop or desktop computer. These laptop/desktop CPUs are based on the x86 CPU architecture, and are currently what Intel is pushing on the mobile world since they are fully compatible with desktop chipsets. This would bring feature and hardware parity between desktops, laptops and tablets, and maybe even phones depending on the chipset used. That's something rarely seen in the mobile world, and is what tends to separate the mobile from the desktop world more than anything.
Intel is coming out with 3 different tiers of Broadwell CPU, which is the successor to the current Haswell line of Core i3/5/7 CPUs that are on the market. These three tiers are labeled Y, U and H, and since we're mainly concerned with mobile technologies, we'll just cover the Y version since that's aimed squarely at the mobile market. Power consumption is one of the biggest hurdles of processors in the mobile sphere, and one that everyone has been concerned with forever now. Qualcomm's latest System on a Chip (SoC), the Snapdragon 800, currently has a Thermal Design Power (TDP) envelope of 2.5 to 3 watts, and boasts an incredibly efficient rate of return based on the power consumption that it takes to run the chip. Intel's Broadwell Y bumps this up to 4.5 watts, but is also configurable to run at 3.5 or 2.8 watts depending on the specific usage scenario. This means that we will likely be seeing 4.5 watt Broadwell chips in Chromebooks and possibly high-end tablets, whereas the lower power consumption chips could be found in more budget-friendly tablets and high-end phones.
Bringing Intel's lineup of processors to the mobile market opens up a rather interesting set of possibilities for Android. We've already seen rumors about Intel making the big push to go Android instead of pushing as hard on Windows-based platforms as it has in the past, and today's information only helps that idea. Broadwell could very well bring quite a bit more power to the mobile space than we've seen in the past, given things like the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) pushing 20% more execution units than Haswell has, as well as full support for OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 1.2/2.0. Broadwell also features a hardware video decoder for fully accelerated video, meaning we're likely to see incredibly high pixel density displays paired with Broadwell chips. The chipsets also feature an audio acceleration chip, which includes features like "wake on voice" and "personal speaker identification." Sounds a lot like the Moto X's Touchless Controls, right? Intel isn't playing around here, and it looks like they are vying to take a significant portion of the market from Qualcomm if these latest moves prove to be successful.