Intel is making another attempt to break into the lucrative mobile market, with its Medfield-class system-on-chip Atom platform. This is a bold move amid the dominance of ARM-based chips like the Qualcomm Snapdragon and Samsung Exynos, not to mention Apple’s own A5 and A6 processors that power today’s iPhones and iPads.
But even with Intel making another big push for mobile, there’s definitely one thing missing at this time: a U.S.-bound smartphone that comes with “Intel Inside.”
At this time, Intel’s apparent absence from the American market points toward one thing: LTE. Or to be more specific, the lack of LTE support.
In a recent interview with TechCrunch, product marketing director Sumeet Syal confirms that the company is working on LTE support on Medfield, and possibly even quad-core chips sometime 2013. Intel is “shipping some LTE products later this year and ramping into 2013,” says Syal, essentially confirming LTE support in future Intel-powered smartphones.
The marketing executive also pointed out distinctions between its own single-core products and the popular dual- and quad-core ARM processors that power today’s flagship devices. Syal says Intel’s hyper-threading architecture enables devices to multi-task in a hyperthreaded environment, thereby boosting performance sometimes beyond comparable multi-core processors.
At this time, though, the question is compatibility, given that not all Android apps currently run on Intel Atom, such as Google’s own Chrome browser. But Intel is confident that its run up to 2013 will be good. “We’ve just gotten into the game, since the beginning of this year, right now we’re really comfortable with how we see our penetration — six products have now been publicly announced into the marketplace,” Syal said.
Yes, you read it right: six. Intel so far has six smartphones launched running the Medfield platform. And none of those are even reaching American shores (at least not through official channels). Still, with LTE just around the corner, Intel may just be readying the big guns in its planned assault on rival processor platforms in the American market. It does have the development and marketing muscle to make it big in this business. The question at this point is whether this will be enough to topple ARM’s dominance in mobile?