Intel’s 28nm SoFIA (Smart or Feature Phone on Intel Architecture) 4G application processor, which was expected to go into mass production soon, will not be available until next year, according to a report from Digitimes. Hardware is not the reason behind the delay, it seems Intel is having issues developing the software, says the report.
Not a good sign for Intel’s Mobile unit
The delay in the availability of the chip means that the chip maker will still depend on its SoFIA 3G/3G-R Aps to support its mobile devices AP business, and might lose business opportunities in the 4G market, which is forecast to expand in the second half of this year.
If the reports are true, then this is not a good sign for Intel’s mobile group. Not only will the company potentially lose some mobile share market, it will also give more time to its competitors to develop parallel technology and competing products. Additionally, if the chip maker does not redesign and sticks to the same architecture with which the product was to be released in the first-quarter of 2016, then the product might become obsolete even before launch.
Intel might offer the 28nm SoFIA 4G AP at a lower price and offer the 14nm model to the high-end market. However, profits will undoubtedly take a blow with this scenario and its marketing for the processors will also be limited.
Intel possesses unique technology
Rivals, however, are worried about the unique technology possessed by Intel, an independent XMM baseband with an Atom AP for its 4G product lineup. Currently made in China, it costs an enormous amount of money to make the chip. Since the end of 2014, the U.S.-based company has been working on integrating two chips into a SoC for its SoFIA product line to improve the situation.
The chipmaker is expected to resolve its software issues in early 2016 as its 14nm SoFIA product line is already up for late-2016. Intel was planning to release SoFIA 4G for 2015, but later postponed it until early 2016. During the first-quarter 2014 earnings call, CEO Brian Krzanich told he investors that SoFIA on Intel’s 14 nanometer process wold be available either in the second half of 2015 or the “first quarter” of 2016.
Investors are obviously not too happy with the delays, as Intel shares are down over 17% year to date.