Intel is Putting its Skylake CPUs Inside Smartphones

By Sean Hollister on at

Intel’s new Skylake processors fit inside practically any computer. Soon, you’ll be able to get one inside a PC-on-a-stick. But it turns out that Core M computers can get even smaller still. Intel says it’s already testing the new processors inside smartphones too.

As noted by Engadget, Intel’s Kirk Skaugen let slip when he gave his keynote at IFA 2015 in Berlin earlier today that the company is working on putting Core M chips inside “phablets”. And while you may not personally want a phablet in your pocket, it could be very good news for people looking to have a single computer they carry around everywhere.

You see, Windows 10 has a pretty amazing new feature called Continuum for Phones, which will let future smartphones running Windows 10 transform into a Windows 10 desktop experience too. You just plug your phone into a keyboard, mouse, and monitor (or connect wirelessly with something like WiGig) and the apps and interface stretch themselves to fit.

But Intel hasn’t had a lot of luck producing smartphone chips. It’s been losing billions of dollars on phone chips every year, as its lack of competitive modem technology and dealmaking ability (compared to Qualcomm) meant that few smartphone manufacturers were willing to put them into phones.

And yet Intel’s Core M laptop and tablet chips might make more sense for Windows 10 devices than Qualcomm products, if Intel can shrink them down. Right now, Intel says a Core M chip can deliver twice the performance of an iPad Air 2 with comparable battery life, and it has the right architecture to run legacy Windows apps too. And unlike previous Intel processors, it’s expressly designed to speed up to fantastic levels of performance when you need it, and tiny levels when you don’t – just what you need from a phone.

Imagine a future where you have a single device in your pocket that’s the key to all your data, and acts as your interface on the go; then you can just set it on a desk and interact with that content on far larger screens, with full size peripherals, and even add additional processing horsepower. That day isn’t here yet, but it feels like maybe the pieces are falling into place. Intel’s Core M might be one of them. [Engadget]