Intel Plots Its Move Into Smartphone Market


Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) CEO, Brian Krzanich, is dead set on enjoying the success in the smartphone business that has to date largely eluded Intel. Prior to the Intel Developer Forum this week, Krzanich told reporters that the company will set a reasonable goal of how many smartphones it would like shipped next year that include its chips, similar to how it approached the table business as it built partnerships to develop products.“By November or December, we should be able to set a goal for phones next year,” Krzanich said.

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Half a dozen?

“We’ll have at least a half a dozen phone manufacturers,” Krzanich said. “I don’t think next year will be as constrained.” Those half a dozen phones will likely include Intel’s new chip dubbed “Sofia” which as integrated 3G but will be followed by and LTE version in the early half of 2015.

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Just as AMD played catchup with Intel in the desktop sector, Intel is chasing ARM Holdings plc (LON:ARM) when it comes to the smartphone market which it dominates.


Krzanich is guardedly optimistic about Intel’s entry into the smartphone market whereas he was aggressive in getting Intel chips into tablets. That aggressiveness took Intel to China to sell its Atom chips to low-cost tablet manufacturers to meet the company’s goal of having 40 million tablet chips installed this year. Essentially, Intel broke down the door to the market by selling subsidized chips, something that the CEO doesn’t with to repeat as it looks to the smartphone market.

“I don’t want to do that with phones. I would really like to avoid that,” Krzanich said.

Intel’s future chips

The Sofia chip is being made through a partnership with Rockchip, a Chinese chip maker, and isn’t expected to be expensive. In fact, it’s expected that it will find its way into a number of low-end smartphones before the two ship their first dual-core chip in 2015 and a quad-core version of Sofia sometime after that. Sofia came about quite quickly for Intel once it partnered with Rockchip.

“Sofia wasn’t even a product at this time last year. We’ve not only conceived the product, we’ve got both the 3G and LTE silicon back, both are functional,” Krzanich said.

“It’s a product that’s built for the right price point. I’ve got to get those out, get the OEMs in there,” he added.

Beyond Sophia, Intel has developed two chips using the 22-nanometer process named Moorefield and Merrifield while a new Atom processor specifically built for high-end smartphones is currently code-named Broxton and is expected in 2016.

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