A new report published by DigiTimes says that Intel is thinking about leaving the smartphone market. Citing a rumor circulating in the upstream supply chain in Taiwan, the story suggests the chip making giant may decide to look elsewhere for business after 2015, and has even internally started evaluating whether to stop spending resources on its handset business.
We realize Intel is having hard time competing with the likes of Qualcomm and MediaTek, as well as an increasing number of handset makers which want to make their own chips. But should it leave this market?
Absolutely not. The age of convergence is coming and Intel is best positioned to make chips that will work on devices which can act like phones and full-blown PCs. Think Ubuntu for Mobile. And think Windows 9 which will hopefully work across different device categories, merging “regular” Windows, Windows RT and Windows Phone into a single platform. These sort of devices could end-up rocking ARM chips but they could just as easily rely on Intel-made gear.
Meanwhile, Lenovo stopped using Intel processors, which is a big blow for the company considering the Chinese firm’s huge scale in its backyard. Intel did manage to corner Asus which will use Atom chips in its affordable ZenFone series smartphones, but will that be enough for Intel to break even? I doubt that; it will have to get more handset makers on board to succeed. And perhaps get some business in the wearables space.
In the meantime, we expect to see Intel’s next-generation Merrifield-based 22nm smartphone processor announced during the upcoming CES in Las Vegas. This chip will rock dual-core Atom SoC (2.13GHz), the XMM 7160 LTE and NXP’s PN547 NFC solutions, and start shipping at the end of March.