In its blog post about the new Google TV platform yesterday, Google neglected to mention one key ingredient. According to CNet News’ Nanotech blog, the first Google TV-powered televisions, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes from Sony and Logitech will feature an Intel system-on-a-chip.
Cracking open the products will reveal an Intel Atom CE4100 processor, which includes (PDF) a 45-nm Atom CPU core running at “up to” 1.2GHz, 512KB of L2 cache, a NAND flash controller, a hardware video decoder, a graphics processor, Serial ATA and USB controllers, and other little bits and pieces. You can check out a block diagram of the chip on page two of Intel’s PDF.
According to Intel Senior VP Eric B. Kim (as quoted by CNet News), Google chose Intel hardware chiefly for performance reasons:
“High performance is needed to deal with large screens, multiple streams of high-definition audio and video. Google could not do what they want on today’s SOCs,” said Kim. “This is not something that you hold in your hand. This is something you plug into the wall,” he said, referring to other chip designs that emphasize power saving features over performance.
Kim went on to throw in a thinly veiled jab at Apple, saying, “Our view is that both HTML5 and Flash are great, so our solution supports both.” Apple has taken a strong stand against Flash, and the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch all feature ARM microprocessor cores. The iPad’s ARM-based A4 system-on-a-chip was actually designed in-house by Apple. That said, the Apple TV does include an Intel processor.