Enkephalon
Cortex

Sept. 10, 2013, 6 p.m.

In retrospect, Intel's entry into this market is pretty damn late, since this was ARM's bread-and-butter before the smartphone market boomed...

Looking at the specs and the use cases, although Intel doesn’t specifically name ARM as a competitor here, it’s clear that Intel is going after ARM’s other market segments to at least some extent with Quark. ARM’s Cortex M and Cortex R processor IP already competes in the spaces that Intel is naming for Quark, so there is some obvious overlap there. Furthermore ARM juggernaut Qualcomm has shown a clear interest in the “internet of things” concept and its potential to be the next explosive market, and have in turn been working on their own Cortex M based designs and sample products using them, such as the recently announced Toq smartwatch.

On the other hand, this is still interesting:

perhaps the most interesting aspect of Quark is what hasn’t been said: architecture. Intel has not specifically named the architecture that Quark will be based on, which calls into question whether it will be based on x86 – like virtually all of Intel’s other microprocessors – or if they’re utilizing another architecture to meet the extreme size and power requirements of Quark. At the same time Intel is calling Quark an “open architecture” product, which is not a term they typically attach to x86.

Intel used to have an ARM license, which it acquired from Compaq/HP which got it from DEC. I think they sold it, along with that entire line of business, to Marvel.