MWC 2015: Intel unveils new Atom x3, x5, x7 mobile processors

After announcing new brand levels, the company provides more details about the first chips that will fall under each category.


As we surmised, it didn't take long to find out what constituted Atom x3, x5, and x7 processors, the new brand levels Intel introduced last week to corral its growing number of mobile chips. The company rolled out new Atom CPUs at this week's Mobile World Congress event, providing us with more insight about its mobile strategy.

The x3 series will power smartphones (including phablets) and entry-level tablets. Code-named "SoFIA," the x3 family bows with a trio of processor: the x3-C3130, the x3-C3230RK, and the x3-C3440. The C3130 features a dual-core processor and 3G modem, and will presumably be used for budget devices. As its name hints at, the C3230RK is being manufactured by Rockchip and includes a quad-core processor and 3G modem. Finally, the x3-C3440 keeps the quad-core and adds LTE capabilities. Each has a 1.4GHz 64-bit processor and integrates a 5-megapixel front-facing camera and 13-megapixel rear camera into the device. Intel claims that 20 companies will be designing devices around the Atom x3 family, including Asus and Jolla.

The x5 and x7 series were previously code-named "Cherry Trail" and are the first Atom chips built using the 14nm manufacturing process. The step(s) up in power over the x3 makes them suitable for tablets and 2-in-1 laptops, with major players like Acer, Dell, HP, and Lenovo already on board to create devices based on the chips.

Intel includes its Intel Generation 8 graphics, which it claims offers up to twice the performance of the previous generation's graphics. The x5 and x7 will also support Intel's RealSense 3D camera technology, and the company says they are devoid of "conflict-free" materials. Unfortunately, specific processors have not been announced for the x5 and x7 families yet, though they can be paired with Intel's new third-generation XMM 726x LTE modem.

The new Atom chips are the latest prong in Intel's lengthy campaign to dominate the mobile space in the same way it lords over desktop PCs. That campaign hasn't always been smooth, with many questioning its erstwhile efforts in the space and its attempt to break through with the use of tactics like subsidizing vendors to boost sales. Will 2015 be any different for Intel's mobile ambitions, thanks to the new x3, x5, and x7 processor families?