The world's largest chip maker is shopping around its phone design to other manufacturers following Nokia's change of plans and now says 2012 will be the year.
CLARA, Calif.-Intel found itself answering "no" to some important
questions May 17 at the company's annual shareholder conference here on its
Silicon Valley campus.
of them addressed whether the world's largest processor maker would be coming
out in 2011-as
it had said last year
and earlier this year-with new chips suited for
smartphone use, a huge market the company has tried to sell into for years.
going to disappoint some of you; we're not going to have a big announcement on
smartphones for smartphone customers today," Intel CEO Paul Otellini told
a packed house of investors, partners, analysts and media types.
all know about the disappointment we had with Nokia [in
the ill-fated MeeGo smartphone partnership
] in the February time frame,
they decided to go a different route
. We didn't sit down and mope after
that. We took [back] the product that we had been working on with Nokia very
deeply for several years almost exclusively-to the extent we didn't work with a
lot of other customers. We have freed up those resources and turned that design
into a form factor/reference design. We're shopping that now to a number of
manufacturers ... and we've had good success.
see the first Intel-based phones [using new Medfield chips] in the market the
first part of next year. In hindsight, Nokia was the wrong partner to have
February 2011, Finland-based Nokia-which has struggled to compete with Apple's
iPhone and myriad other Android mobile phones-decided to cast its lot with
Microsoft to build the Windows Phone 7, abandoning its years-long development
partnership with Intel to build a phone called the MeeGo.
Breaking into Smartphones Has Been
years, Intel has been unsuccessful breaking into the smartphone chip space
because device makers have favored cheaper, lower-power ARM (Advanced RISC
Machine)-based chips, such as Qualcomm's Snapdragon and others made by IBM,
Samsung, Globalfoundries and ARM itself.
led to another question to Otellini at the shareholder meeting-a rather obvious
one: "Is Intel planning to build an ARM chip?"
short answer is no," Otellini said. "We did that, we have an ARM
license; we have an ARM architecture license, for that matter. The important
thing for us is how to get paid. We think the best thing for us to get paid in
these new markets is to build best-of-class chips. It's not really the
architectural core that makes the difference here; it's the stuff you put
around it, like the other power management and other features.
IA [Intel Advantage] versus ARMs is that there is no power penalty that we pay.
There's no advantage to be beholden to someone else, to pay royalties to them,
which lowers our overall profits. We can do a better job if we filled out this
continuum with IA. We have no intention to use our license again to build an
32-bit processors are low-cost chips used in more than 90 percent of mobile
phones and myriad other handheld digital devices. Because the architecture is
relatively simple, they work well in low-power applications.
2009, ARM processors accounted for about 90 percent of all embedded 32-bit RISC
processors. They are used in mobile phones, media players, handheld game
consoles, calculators and peripherals, such as hard drives and routers. Current
ARM licensees include Alcatel-Lucent, Apple, Intel, LG, Marvell Technology
Group, Microsoft, NEC, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sharp and Texas Instruments,
among many others.
Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini addresses a full house at the company's 2011 investor's meeting in Santa Clara, Calif. (eWEEK photo by Chris Preimesberger)