Intel steps into mobile phone industry

Chris Caceres · June 23, 2009 · Short URL:

Chip manufacturer partners with Nokia to "define a new mobile platform"

 We’re used to seeing Intel processers in our desktop and laptop computers, but not in our cellphones, yet.  This is obviously an issue for Intel, in an industry where mobile phones are expected to be consumed far more than PC’s over the next decade.  

Makes sense that today, Intel has announced a partnership with Nokia to develop a new class of chips combining Intel’s chipset architecture with Nokia’s communication technologies.  The partnership is said to be a long term relationship and expected to result in many innovations throughout the mobile market.  No financial terms have been disclosed.

The two companies said they will be collaborating on several open source mobile Linux software projects.  Intel will acquire a Nokia HSPA/3G modem IP license for use future products.  Intel’s SVP of the Ultra Mobility Group, Anand Chandrasekher said, “With the convergence of the Internet and mobility as the team's only barrier, I can only imagine the innovation that will come out of our unique relationship with Nokia. The possibilities are endless."

Intel and Nokia said their shared vision is to, “define a new mobile platform beyond today’s smartphones, notebooks and netbooks, enabling the development of a variety of innovative hardware, software and mobile Internet services.”  

This all sounds like a bunch of vague tech-marketing garble but it points at several directions the partnership could bring about.  These being speculations of what we should expect to see, Intel and Nokia have not announced any future products.  

  • New cellphones which run Moblin, Intel’s open source operating system for smartphones and other devices.  
  • The use of Intel’s Atom processor in phones, a low-powered chip designed for mobile devices which can process high quality graphics and interfaces.

This is huge for Intel.  Nokia is the world’s largest cell-phone manufacturer and could begin installing Intel processors into millions of new devices.  Intel will be stepping heads up against ARM, which develops processors for smartphones including the Apple iPhone.

The image shown above is a prototype of a smartphone made by Intel, shown off at a recent IDF.  I saw it in person last year and it wasn't functional yet.  Image source - Engadget

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