Intel closes in on smartphone market

Intel is "trying to sell a scaled-down version of [its PC] processor in a bid to win orders for advanced phones" from manufacturers such as Apple, RIM, or Nokia.

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Intel is "trying to sell a scaled-down version of [its PC] processor in a bid to win orders for advanced phones" from manufacturers such as Apple, RIM, or Nokia, according to a Bloomberg report.

The global market for mobile phones is over 1.2 billion units per year. According to ABI Research, about 17 per cent are smart phones that require advanced processing power.

Intel has so far failed to break into the mobile phone market. In 2006, chief executive Paul Otellini killed a $5 billion handset processor initiative by former chief Craig Barrett, after Intel lost out to ARM and other companies.

Apple uses Intel chips for its Mac computers, but ARM processors for its iPods and iPhones.

Intel's Atom chip has created a buzz for its use in small, low-cost netbooks, one of the few tech categories that grew in 2008 due to reduced consumer spending on more expensive notebooks.

But netbooks are a niche market at best. Gartner's estimate of 78 million netbooks sold accounted for only five percent of PC sales in 2008's fourth quarter.

Smart phones, therefore, represent a bigger chunk of a larger market for Intel to capture. Intel CFO Stacy Smith told Bloomberg. "We would love dearly to win one of the big guys, that really is the smart phone game, it really is a concentrated set of suppliers. We're lurking behind every bush and showing them our product line."

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