As PCs became commodities, Microsoft and Intel (commonly referred to has Wintel monopoly) have ruled the PC roost for many years. They minted the only outsized profits in the industry and were the ones who possesed the real power. Linux is challenging Windows for the first time seriously in the netbook market. Therefore it seems quite appropriate that Intel’s dominance in processors be challenged as well. Freescale Semiconductor, the former chip division of Motorola, is one of several companies up for the fight.
Earlier this year Freescale released a reference design with a $200 price point. It featured the new i.MX515 processor, which is designed to take on Intel’s Atom chip. The chip is especially designed to be a low consumer of power and the mockup featured an 8-hour battery life (Freescale did not indicate what size of battery was required). The model also had 3G connectivity. This could mean new applications - the 3G and extended power gives it the advantages of a cell phone but with the power of a computer.
Quite notably, the new CPU will only support Linux. This is a very bold strategy move as Windows still controls 70% of the Netbook market. Maybe Freescale has figured out how to supercharge performance by designing exclusively for Linux?