Looking for a breakthrough, Intel courts Samsung

July 1, 2013
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Intel logo Credit: huangjiahui

Let’s face it, Intel is pretty much absent when it comes to the smartphone and tablet markets. There are very few smartphone products which utilize its processing technology, and certainly no hugely popular devices as of yet.

Qualcomm has a market share which is seven times larger than Intel’s, and recently market research firm IHS iSuppli revealed that Intel only holds a rather pitiful 5 percent share of the market for digital baseband and applications processors used in smartphones and other connected mobile devices last year.

We heard not to long ago that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 might be using an Intel Atom Z2560 chip instead of a more commonplace ARM processor. If true, this would be a pretty major breakthrough for Intel, but would still only be a relatively small success in an otherwise much larger market.

Now perhaps Intel harbors some resentment at Qualcomm’s success, which might explain Lee Hee-sung’s, Intel’s Korean CEO’s, recent comments regarding its rival. The outspoken Lee Hee-sung has insisted that Intel’s processor technology is well ahead of Qualcomm’s, in an attempt to win over major Korean handset manufacturers. Now it’s certainly true that Intel’s Clover Trail+ processor has performed quite well in some recent tests, but with the Snapdragon 800 right around the corner, Intel’s comments might be a little premature. Perhaps he’s referring to Intel’s upcoming Baytrail chips instead.

Our fourth-generation Haswell-branded System-on-Chip (SoC) has advantages in power consumption.

It may not be all about performance when it comes to the smartphone market, but Intel still has to prove that it can provide competitive all-in-one solutions for mobile processing, including integrated LTE chips, which the company is currently lacking.

But this isn’t all just talk from Intel, the company has supposedly been meeting with Samsung regarding adjustments to its supply chain structure, which is currently heavily influenced by Qualcomm. Now, this could have something to do with sorting out things ready for the Galaxy Tab 3, and the talks could also be paving the way for future joint ventures between the two tech giants.

(Renee) James had a meeting with Samsung’s co-CEO Shin Jong-kyun in Seoul last week. The meeting with Samsung signifies that Intel recognizes the Korean company as one of its crucial business partners.

Intel definitely needs to put some good smartphone and tablet products under its belt if it ever wants to be considered as a serious contender in these markets, and a deal with Samsung would go a long way to prove that company’s technology has what it takes. We certainly could see a few Intel powered Samsung products in the not too distant future, as Intel’s processor tech looks up to scratch. Samsung declined to comment on the matter, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

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