Intel Unveils Low-power Quark Chips For Wearable Devices
September 11, 2013

Intel Jumps Into The Wearable Computing Market With New Line Of Quark Processors

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Intel launched its new Quark line of processors on Tuesday, saying the chips are designed for embedded applications such as industrial designs and wearable devices.

The Quark chips will fit in a variety of small devices, and will use “lower power than anyone thought Intel silicon could ever go into,” said Chief Executive Officer Brian Krzanich on Tuesday at Intel’s Developer Forum in San Francisco.

“We tried to build products consumers will want,” he said.

The Quark chips will be one-fifth the size of Atom, Intel’s smallest low-power chips, and use just ten percent of the power, Krzanich said.

The chipmaker said it wants its processors to be part of the growing market for devices that can be worn and used for fitness, computing and other tasks. Sony, Samsung Electronics and other companies have released wearable products in recent months, while Google is actively promoting the use of its Google Glass computing eyewear.

Analysts expect the market for all wearable technology, including smartwatches, to more than double from $9.3 billion this year to $18.8 billion in 2016. Qualcomm, the largest chipmaker for mobile phones, announced its own Toq smartwatch last week.

Krzanich said Quark will come in multiple variants, and be customizable for a variety of uses, including personal medical devices.

Tuesday’s presentation marks Krzanich’s first major keynote address since assuming his post as chief executive in May. Under his predecessors, Intel had struggled to translate its dominance in personal computers, where its chips power eight out of every 10 machines sold, into the market for processors that run smartphones.

Intel is aggressively working to get its chips into mobile devices. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company currently holds greater than 90 percent of the market share of chips that power servers that feed handheld computers the data and services they rely on.

That success has helped offset a fall in Intel’s main PC processor business, which is predicted to contract even further this year.

During Tuesday’s conference, Krzanich laid out Intel's broader vision, and described how the company is addressing each dynamic market segment with new products over the next year and beyond.

Krzanich said Intel plans to leave no segment untapped.

"Innovation and industry transformation are happening more rapidly than ever before, which play to Intel's strengths. We have the manufacturing technology leadership and architectural tools in place to push further into lower power regimes. We plan to shape and lead in all areas of computing."

Shares of Intel’s stock rose less than 1 percent on Tuesday, closing at $22.99. The stock is up 11 percent this year, compared with a 28 percent gain in the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.