Intel Mashes Wi-Fi And CPU Together, Working On Solar-Powered Chips

Brad Chacos

When it comes to mobile technology, the push to make things better, faster and smaller is non-stop and all consuming. The more functions you can cram onto a single chip, the better! Plenty of companies have thrown their proverbial hat into the convergence ring, but as the 800 lb. gorilla in the room, all eyes tend to gravitate towards Intel for trend-setting processor news. And who is Intel to disappoint? The company's already announced plans for a mobile SoC with built-in 4G , and it recently showed off new "Rosepoint" chips that combine Atom CPUs and Wi-Fi radios.

The breakthrough is made possible thanks to the digital revolution, Wired explains . Traditional analog Wi-Fi chips are bulky and difficult to downsize, so Intel whipped up a new digital type of Wi-Fi chip, instead. The digital chip's teeny-tiny size means the 2.4GHz radio can fit on the same silicon as a dual-core Atom CPU.

CPUs and Wi-Fi radios are kind of like teenage siblings, though; each one normally interferes in the other's business. To stop that from happening, Intel created noise canceling and anti-radiation technology for use with the Rosepoint processors. That helps give Rosepoint great signal quality, and mixing Wi-Fi with the CPU results in excellent power efficiency, Intel claims.

The technology is still in its infant stages: Wired says we won't see Rosepoint chips until at least "the middle of the decade."

As if that isn't nifty enough, Intel has also been working on light-powered CPUs, with plans to expand the technology into graphics and memory markets. The company plans on talking more about the tech at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week. The Pentium-derived "Claremont" chips have already successfully ran Windows and Linux PCs using the light from a desk lamp, TechWorld explains . Expect to hear more about Claremont once Intel outs it further.

Image credit: Intel via Wired.com

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