Intel’s Secretive New Phone (INTC)
Most of the public might not know that Intel designs phones, that is until the release of its top-of-the-line smartphone destined for use on global telecom provider Orange’s network.
The endeavor started when upper management at Intel realized they cannot convince the public that its chips are able to work in mobile phones, as that niche is dominated by mobile chip maker ARM.
Intel proceeded to hire hundreds of engineers from Silicon Valley and started a state-of—the-art phone making operation.
Toward the end of last year Intel began sharing its device, which had been designed solely at its Santa Clara headquarters. The phone features all of the important features that dominate the market and it runs on Google Android’s operating system. It even looks quite comparable to the iPhone 4.
Intel’s head of mobility, Mike Bell, is a former Apple employee of 17 years and worked on the iPhone project before taking a job with Palm.
After manufacturing several thousand phones, Intel distributed them to all possible partners.
Intel’s mobile chips will also appear in other devices. Motorola Mobility announced last month that all of its future devices will run on Intel Chips. Chinese smartphone company ZTE also stated on Monday that it will source its chips from Intel.
Intel will now balance its focus on both chip and phone design.
“Our plan is that with every new generation of chip, we’ll build a state-of-the-art reference device,” Bell said. “If customers like what they see, we’ll certainly support that.”
Intel hopes for the phone chip journey to be similar to its history with PC chips. The company struggled to convince computer companies that it could make PC processors nearly 30 years ago, but now has a market share of 80 percent.
Intel’s chip-making rival, ARM, has a 95 percent market share. It remains to be seen how successful the company’s new journey will be, but at least by now it has proved its ability to provide the power needed for today’s smartphones.