Intel Sidles Into Phones

Intel seems to be shuffling sideways like an old crab into the phone market.

The third phone to be launched with an Intel processor is made by the Taiwanese firm Gigabyte and will be sold next week by the T-Mobile/Orange wireless network operator Everything Everywhere.

 

This comes after two other Intel-based phones have been announced – one from the Indian firm Lava, and  the second from the Chinese PC company Lenovo.

 

None of the three companies are top-flight phone makers. One suspects that a fistful of Intel development dollars could have influenced their choice of processor.

 

The first Tier One phone company to use an Intel processor is expected to be Motorola Mobility. Motorola Mobility is owned by Google and Intel’s CEO is on the Google board.

 

Again one suspects it was not at the urging of Motorola Mobility’s engineers that the choice of an Intel processor was made.

 

Not so long ago we were led to believe that Intel was buddy buddies with Nokia. But despite Nokia being run by an ex-Microsoftie, and using a Microsoft OS in its handsets, it has not, so far, announced a Wintel phone.

 

Interestingly, the Everything Everywhere guy says the Intel/Gigabyte phone is an entry-level device explaining: “It’s not about going head-to-head with a Galaxy S3.”

 

As a pay-as-you-go the Gigabyte phone sells for £200 whereas top-end phones on pay-as-you-go cost around £600.

 

This is an uncharacteristically humble approach to the market by Intel – sidling in at the bottom of the market with non-traditional vendors.

 

It looks as if Intel is up to its old wily ways. If you can’t get in the front door by producing a better chip, try the back door by using corporate muscle. And if the back door doesn’t work try MDF.

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8 Comments

  1. Capt Sam
    June 12, 2012 19:01

    Agreed….now what was that saying some old maths buffer said….”The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

  2. David Manners
    June 05, 2012 19:20

    Thanks Cap’n Sam, interesting. But I don’t think the mobile phone industry is trembling with fear, remembering Intel’s previous forays into consumer goods.

  3. Capt Sam
    June 05, 2012 19:04

    You didn’t hear it from me but Intel hired a bunch of ex-Palm / HP guys to develop phones, so watch this space for an Intel brand phone.

  4. David Manners
    June 02, 2012 09:37

    Yes, Scunnerous, I did see Mr Nenni’s comments. He’s obviously close to TSMC and will make the most of an Intel cock up. There’s obviously something going wrong at Intel but goodness knows what. Going to be interesting though. Intel’s bet an awful lot on getting this right.

  5. Scunnerous
    June 02, 2012 09:02

    If Gigabyte said yes, it probably means that even Asus said no. A motherboard mfr. currently aspiring to cannibalize its OEMs’ PC market hardly seems like a good place to start for Intel with a phone. With that background and the price, the expression “cheap ‘n’ cheerful” comes to mind.
    BTW I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Mr. Nenni over at SemiWiki is currently having a ball, gloating over Intel’s “problems” with Tri-Gate.

  6. David Manners
    June 01, 2012 11:41

    Thanks, Martijn, you’re absolutely right. I will change it. Much obliged

  7. martijn
    June 01, 2012 11:33

    gigabyte is a taiwanese company as far as I know…

  8. June 01, 2012 07:30

    The moment Steve Jobs did that magical “slide to unlock”, Intel should have gone paranoid. What have they been smoking the last 3-4 years?
    That said and in spite of its arrogant history, I’m willing to give Intel a chance at mobile.
    Pity of course that they are trying the sidling route rather than go head-on with a tier 1 vendor or better still (if they would have the balls), go ahead and make a phone themselves and partner with a service provider.
    I do remember Intel’s half-hearted attempts at CE in the past – they’ve tried DVD, TV and STB markets with little success. It’s going to take them a lot more than 3 newbies to click in this even more fierce mobile market.

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