Move over, Atom; Intel's Quark is one-fifth the size

IDF — Intel CEO Brian Krzanich dropped a surprise announcement on the attendees of his opening keynote at the Intel Developer Forum today: a new family of processors from Intel, known as Quark. Quark SoCs are intended to be integrated into very small computing devices and the "Internet of things," including wearable devices and possibly smart watches.

Krzanich said Quark SoCs will be very low power and will fit into tiny form factors—about one-fifth the size of an Atom SoC with about one-tenth the power consumption.

What's more, Krzanich added that the Quark family will be "fully synthesizable" with an "open architecture" and "open ecosystem." We don't have too many details about how the the business alliances around Quark will work, but Krzanich indicated that, if companies want to put their own IP into a Quark SoC, "we can support that." He did say Intel plans to keep Quark production in-house for now, rather than allowing production of Quark-based chips at outside foundries.

Quark development is apparently well down the path inside of Intel. Reference designs based on the first SoCs are already "ready to go," and the first product has a name: Quark X1000. We'll be watching for more details on Quark as IDF continues.

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