Intel has always been the sword of Damocles in the mobile industry because many figured that once it actually hopped into mobile in a big way, it may be able to replicate its desktop dominance. Qualcomm is not convinced that it will be that easy, it told us at CTIA 2012.
Qualcomm Senior Vice President of Software Strategy Rob Chandhok said the company is not discounting Intel but he believes that its experience will give it a decided advantage. While Intel’s Atom chip has produced some nice benchmarks, it will be tough to produce products that can provide the experience smartphone users demand.
“The commercial challenges are going to be tough to overcome … it’s unforgiving and there’s so much competition,” Chandok said.
The mobile processor space is definitely becoming more crowded, as NVIDIA, Samsung, Texas Instruments and others are hoping to get in on this gold rush. In general, Qualcomm has an advantage because it also controls (some say pioneered) the connectivity element. The reason why devices like the One X come to the United States with a Qualcomm chip is because it’s leading on LTE technology. It is already on its third-generation LTE modem and most of the competition is just getting its first one out.
Qualcomm will be going after Intel on its own turf later this year with tablets that run Windows 8. Chandok described it as an “interesting opportunity” and he praised Microsoft’s efforts because it involves strong technology and a consumer-minded branding effort. Windows RT on devices like what Qualcomm will make may be limited by the lack of legacy apps but I’m convinced that if manufacturers can get the pricing and experience right, it could be a solid competitor to the iPad.
As for the reported S4 shortages, Chandok couldn’t comment and referred me to its last earnings call (media training, folks) but he did say that even though its a complex chip, the manufacturing process isn’t more difficult than any other chips it makes. Take that how you want to.