Intel Drops $1B Trying To Play In Smartphone Market, LTE Modem + Push By PC Companies Set To Save Them
Moving forward the Chipmaker who reported an overall net profit for the third quarter of $3.32bn which was up from $2.95bn a year earlier is banking on a move by PC vendors into the smartphone market to deliver better returns for their mobile + communications division.
ChannelNews understands that several PC makers including Acer, Asus and Lenovo are looking to launch smartphones in the Australian market next year.
Intel profits rose as demand for personal computers recovered after previous years of decline. Sales rose 8% to $14.6bn, beating analyst estimates.
Earlier this week Intel moved to improve its mobile fortunes with Asus confirming that it’s new PadFone X Mini will be the first smartphone equipped with an Intel LTE modem.
The 4.5-inch phone is a hybrid: By slipping into a dock, the PadFone converts to a tablet.
The problem for Intel is that the ARM-based chip, most likely made by Qualcomm or Apple is powering the bulk of smartphones in the market.
While Intel’s mobile-focused Atom chips are now powering lots of tablets, the major hurdle to Intel-powered smartphones has been the lack of an Intel LTE modem.
That’s why the Asus PadFone X mini, announced yesterday, is a big deal for Intel. It’s not the first phone running on Intel silicon, and it’s not going to be the most powerful device with an Intel chip, but it is the first commercial smartphone with an Intel LTE modem. The device is tipped to be launched in Australia in the first quarter of 2015.
That modem, XMM 7160, was first announced in late 2013 and has been included in several tablets to date, most notably, Samsung’s high-end Galaxy Tab S with LTE. The PadFone X mini won’t sport a fully integrated modem and processor, but an Intel Atom processor will sit right alongside the modem on the phone.
Intel is still putting the finishing touches on a fully integrated system on a chip called SoFIA, which will be aimed at low-cost 3G handsets overseas, with an LTE version to follow.