Intel’s New Pal

Intel does so much weird stuff these days – buying McAfee, paying people to use its mobile chips, etc – that the partnership with RockChip can probably be dismissed as another eccentricity.

RockChip’s customers typically make their products for $100. So a RockChip mobile SOC sells for single digit dollars. So providing a quad-core Atom for a RockChip SOC is a curious aspiration for a company whose infrastructure economics assume $100 ASPs.

So why does Intel want to persuade RockChip to put x86 cores in cheapo mobile SOCs?

The cynical answer is that Intel is now addicted to throwing money away in mobile and has found another way to do it.

Another answer is that Intel could be doing this for the same reason that it uses TSMC to make its mobile SOCs rather than making them in-house – i.e. because Intel can’t make SOCs worth tiddly squat.

A third possible  answer is that Intel has told the world it will be in 40 million tablets this year, is falling short by some 8 million according to Digitimes Research, and will do something as odd as this to achieve the 40 million goal.

Who knows? When you’ve got the Intel CFO saying the company will be No.2 in mobile you wonder about the thought processes operating in Mission College Boulevard.



  1. Well can it, Silverman? Intel’s taking lots of hits from its rising debt levels to demands for high dividends to contra-revenues to delayed process ramps. It has cash of $20 billion but debt of $13.46 billion. At some point it will have to show it can make profits from mobile or walk away from it.

  2. Intel can afford to take a hit to get boots-on-the-ground.

  3. Qualcomm and Apple at 1 & 2, Silverman, followed by MediaTek, Samsung and Spreadtrum so you have to be on something strong to think you’re going to overtake four of them.

  4. If Intel aims to be No. 2 – who is No. 1 ?
    Is it Samsung ?

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