Nearly every technology journalist in North America attended Microsoft’s BUILD conference yesterday to catch a glimpse at Windows 8, including over very own Marin Perez, but that came at the expense of providing coverage from Intel’s Developer Forum. There’s a reason for this. The chip company has been talking up Intel based smartphone for years without actually delivering, so why would anyone want to waste their time? Luckily for the internet, Anand Lal Shimpi of Ananadtech was in attendance and he was able to record three videos. Two showing off an Intel Medfield based Android Gingerbread smartphone that’s less than 10 mm thick and one that demos an 8.9 mm thick Android Honeycomb tablet. Intel says they expect to see devices with their silicon running Android out on the market during the first half of 2012, and while before we’d have no problem calling bullshit on that statement, the recent announcement that Google is going to optimize future versions of Android for both x86 and ARM has us mildly excited. Make no mistake, Intel is in a position to dominate the market since they’ll be able to offer hardware vendors everything they need to build a device. There’s the x86 application processor of course, the Intel graphics, which these days is built on the processor itself, and thanks to Intel’s acquisition of Infineon’s Wireless Division, they’ll also be able to supply cellular connectivity. That and Intel actually owns their own fabs, meaning they make their own stuff, whereas NVIDIA and Qualcomm depend on third parties to make their silicon.
Does this mean ARM will soon fall off the face of the planet? Absolutely not. Intel’s business model is to sell physical components, whereas ARM licenses their processor designs and architecture so that folks can build custom processors that support exactly what they need and nothing more. It’s why Apple builds their own A4, A5, and soon A6 chips, Samsung has Exynos, and Qualcomm has Snapdragon. Will device makers want to use the generic solutions Intel offers?
Time will tell.