CES 2018: Acer Announces Redesigned Swift 7, "World's Thinnest Laptop"

Subject: Mobile | January 6, 2018 - 06:21 PM |
Tagged: xmm, ultrabook, thinnest, swift 7, LTE, Intel, CES 2018, acer

Acer took the opportunity today to announce several new notebook designs ahead of CES 2018. One of the more interesting and unexpected items is the newly redesigned Acer Swift 7 notebook.

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Touted as the "World's Thinnest Laptop" by Acer, the Swift 7 comes in an impressive 8.98mm (0.35-in) thick. To put that figure into some context, consider that the Core M-based 12" MacBook which was praised for its thin form factor comes in at 13.2mm (0.52-in) at it's thickest point.

Currently, the information we have about the hardware of the Swift 7 is a bit sparse. While Acer states it will feature a 7th Generation Core processor, we don't yet know if this is referring to a 3.5W processor like the i7-7Y75, or a higher power 15W processor such as the i7-7500U. While I am desperately hoping that Acer has managed to integrate a 15W processor into this design, it seems likely to be using a Y-series part.

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In addition to the i7 processor, the Swift 7 will be equipped with 256 GB of PCIe storage, as well as 8GB of LPDDR3 memory.

Even with its super-thin form-factor, the Acer Swift 7 manages to pack another surprise, the addition of built-in LTE connectivity. Unlike other connected Windows devices we have seen recently, the Swift 7 is opting for an Intel XMM Modem solution instead of Qualcomm's offerings. The Swift 7 will feature a built-in eSIM for a fast and easy subscription process to your carrier of choice.

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In addition, Acer is also partnering with a company called Transatel to provide one month's worth of free trial LTE access (up to 1GB of data) for owners of the Swift 7. Transatel partners with carriers all over the world with their international data SIM service, meaning this connectivity will be available in 48 countries.

As you might expect, the "World's Thinnest Laptop" doesn't come cheap, starting at $1699 for the base configuration with availability set to begin in March. 

Additionally, Acer also updated us on their previously announced Switch 7 Black Edition 2-in-1 device.

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First discussed at the IFA trade show last year, the Switch 7 Black Edition is billed as the most powerful fanless 2-in-1 device. Not only will it feature a quad-core 8th Generation Intel processor, but Acer also is packing in an NVIDIA GeForce MX 150 discrete GPU cooled by their Dual LiquidLoop heat pipe design.

The Switch 7 Black Edition will be shipping later this month, with the earlier announced base price of $1699

Source: Acer

MWC 2014: Intel Announces XMM 7260 LTE-Advanced Wireless Modem

Subject: Mobile | February 24, 2014 - 04:00 AM |
Tagged: xmm, MWC 14, MWC, lte-advanced, LTE, Intel, 7260

Intel also announced Merrifield and Moorefield SoCs at Mobile World Congress today.

In 2011, Intel acquired SysDSoft to improve and accelerate the companies transition into the mobile wireless controllers, LTE in particular.  As a result, Intel released the XMM 7160 modem in 2013 which included the X-GOLD 716 baseband controller that could support LTE and HSPA functions.  This modem was adopted by a handful of OEMs in the market with Cat 4 bandwidth up to 150 Mbps (downstream) and 50 Mbps (upstream), LTE voice implementation and globally capability with 15 bands.

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This modem was available as a multi-chip solution for mobile device vendors to implement but was shipped in a M.2 module. The latter form gave a quick option for notebook and tablet vendors to include in ready-built systems.

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At Mobile World Congress today though, Intel is announcing its next generation modem, the XMM 7260 LTE-Advanced.  As the name implies, this update includes support for LTE-Advanced that adds in features like carrier aggregation and a pair of downlink channels for up to 300 Mbps data rates.  Carrier aggregation can be used for additional bandwidth performance or to disperse spectrum in a more efficient way to improve reliability.  Intel claims that this controller and modem meets the maximum specification levels of LTE today.

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The XMM 7260 LTE-Advanced includes the X-GOLD 726 that is truly a global market ready part with frequency compatibility on LTE FDD/TDD, WCDMA/HSPA+, TD-SCDMA/TD-HSPA/EDGE.  This iteration uses fewer components, thus is smaller and easier to integrate than the 7160, and will be "on shelf" as early as next quarter.  There is no CDMA support included, though. For users on Verizon and Sprint, we'll have to see if handset makers for those carriers have adjusted their timelines for LTE-only devices.  AT&T and T-Mobile, in the US, will have no issues with 4G and 3G support.

This modem is meant to compete directly with the stranglehold that Qualcomm has on the LTE market (and one source tells me that carriers "are dying for an alternative" to help drive down costs).  Though it might seem odd in some ways, I fully expect this XMM 7260 modem to be paired with non-Intel SoC devices, including smartphones and tablets.  In fact, it is quite possible that the XMM 7260 LTE-Advanced modem might have more successful adoption than the upcoming Merrifield SoCs, also announced today. Device manufacturers might be satisfied with their choice in SoCs, not demanding an alternative in x86, but also might appreciate a new modem.

As a side note, the XMM 7260 is being built on TSMC's 28nm process technology rather than on Intel's own fabs (this isn't the first time it has happened).  I don't expect this to be a concern for performance but it is interesting to see a chip that Intel is placing so much emphasis on being constructed outside its own walls.

The XMM 7269 LTE-Advanced modem is currently in certification and is expected to be available for integration in Q2, 2014.