In an effort to expand its presence in the mobile market, Intel will be merging its netbook and tablets, ultra-mobility, mobile communications, and mobile wireless divisions into one group. The new unit, called the Mobile Communications Group, will be headed by current Intel executives Mike Bell and Hermann Eul. Bell was involved in the development of the iPhone at Apple before joining Intel, and Eul came to Intel during the company’s acquisition of Infineon Technologies’ wireless chip business.
In an internal memo circulated on December 14, Intel outlined the reorganization efforts, and set a goal of decreasing time to market and accelerating adoption of Intel’s chips in mobile devices. As the world’s largest chip maker, Intel has held well in the traditional PC and server markets, but a spokesperson for the company stated that their focus with this reorganization move is to improve the development process for mobile devices.
Key among Intel’s challenges is increasing the energy efficiency of its chips. The new Mobile Communications unit will be charged with increasing Intel’s competitive presence in the mobile-device space—a market segment currently dominated by highly energy-efficient chips based on architectures from ARM Holdings and its manufacturing partners, including Nvidia, Samsung, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments.
Intel-based smartphones and tablets are expected to come to market in the first half of 2012; these devices will feature the Medfield Atom chips, and will support Google Android, Windows, and MeeGo operating systems. Intel is also pushing its “Ultrabook” notebook concept—thin and light notebooks with tablet-like features such as longer battery life and touch—that will utilize chips based on Intel’s 3-D Tri-Gate transistor architecture.
This latest attempt to break into the smartphone and tablet arena follows the September announcement of Intel’s partnership with Google, in which the two companies hope to optimize the Android platform for Intel architecture.