Intel plans on acquiring Texas Instruments’ cable modem product line, in a bid to increase the chip maker’s presence in the cable industry and its electronics. Intel will supply those electronics with system-on-a-chip products based on its Atom processor. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Intel’s broad strategy is to integrate those system-on-a-chip offerings with Texas Instruments’ Puma product lines and DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Specification) standard technology. In theory, that will provide an ample platform for cable manufacturers to create a broad array of products.
“Intel is focused on delivering [system-on-chip products] that provide the foundation for consumer electronics devices such as set top boxes, digital TVs, Blu-ray disc players, companion boxes and related devices,” Bob Ferreira, general manager of Cable Segment for Intel’s Digital Home Group, wrote in an Aug. 16 statement. “This acquisition specifically strengthens Intel’s product offerings for the continuum of cable gateway products and reinforces Intel’s continued commitment to the cable industry.”
Although known popularly as a chip maker for PCs, Intel has made strides in expanding its products to other, more non-traditional areas. During his Jan. 7 keynote address at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Intel president and CEO Paul Otellini suggested the company would soon be expanding into a number of high-profile areas, including a smartphone based on Intel’s “Moorestown” infrastructure, an online applications store for netbooks and home-monitoring infrastructure.
Intel’s system-on-a-chip initiatives are also diversifying, with the company’s upcoming Oak Trail platform. That low-power Atom chip and hub, half the size of its predecessor, will use less power than the current platform. Microsoft has claimed that Oak Trail, which is due in early 2011, will be an integral part of a series of Windows 7-equipped tablets, and Intel executives have reportedly said that the platform will be conjoined with both Google Android and the MeeGo operating system.
Intel has aggressively pushed the Atom platform into markets ranging from smartphones and smart TVs to in-car entertainment systems. Consumer electronics and mobility represent fertile ground for the company, which finds its products competing in those spaces against ARM-designed processors.
Texas Instruments has also attempted to angle on emerging markets. In January, the company announced its TPS6518x EPD (electronic paper display) power management chip, replacing about 40 discrete components required for an e-reader’s e-ink display. The company planned to entice e-reader OEMs to choose that solution over its competitors’ hardware offerings.