Intel Prepares to Challenge Qualcomm With New LTE Chip
The chip maker continues to trail Qualcomm in the mobile device chip space, but hopes the upcoming multimode XMM 7160 chipset will close the gap.Intel officials are moving to grow the company’s 4G LTE capabilities, a key move as they look to take on the likes of Qualcomm and gain traction in the increasingly competitive mobile chip market. The company has been driving up the energy efficiency in its low-power Atom chip platform, which is Intel’s main vehicle into the mobile space, and is looking to accelerate the Atom production cycle. Now officials are working to shore up a key weakness in the company’s mobile efforts: its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) capabilities. Intel will begin shipping a multimode LTE modem chipset by the end of the month, a move that will help it close the gap with Qualcomm, the top mobile chip maker that earlier this year announced it had integrated multimode 3G/4G LTE into its Snapdragon 400 chips. Right now, Intel has a single-mode LTE solution, but it’s limited in its capabilities and is behind what Qualcomm currently offers. In addition, Intel last month quietly acquired Fujitsu Semiconductor Wireless Products, the Japanese tech giant’s wireless division that is housed in Arizona. The group specializes in LTE technology, and will further help Intel expand its capabilities in wireless networking for devices such as smartphones and tablets.
The moves come as Intel continues to try to push its way into the lucrative mobile device space, where the bulk of the smartphones and tablets are powered by systems-on-chip (SoC) designed by ARM and made by Qualcomm, Samsung, Apple, Texas Instruments and others. Intel officials are pushing the 6-year-old Atom platform as their key mobile technology. They expect to make significant strides in performance and energy efficiency later this year when SoCs based on the new “Silvermont” architecture start to ship.