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2/28/2012
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Intel Shows Mobile Roadmap

Intel said it has more partners lined up to sell Intel-based smartphones, and plans a series of powerful chips that will smash through Moore's law.

MWC: Waterproof Your Phones, Tablets, Laptops
MWC: Waterproof Your Phones, Tablets, Laptops
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Intel CEO Paul Otellini gave Mobile World Congress attendees a glimpse of its mobile future. Speaking at the event, Otellini said the company is committed to the mobile market, and wants to bring its processors to smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

Intel announced new partners in its mobile push. France-based network operator Orange has said it will sell smartphones based on Intel's Atom family of processors. Hardware makers Lava (from India) and ZTE both joined Otellini on stage to voice support for Atom, as well. Lava and ZTE said they plan to bring Intel-based smartphones to the market ... eventually. Intel already announced a similar product partnership with Motorola, which is soon to become Google's property.

These new partnerships give Intel three hardware partners and one operator partner. In the lead up to Mobile World Congress, many speculated that Intel and Motorola would announce the first Android smartphone running on an Intel chip. They didn't. In fact, Motorola made no new announcements at the show this year.

The first chipset to find its way into smartphones will be Intel's Z2460 processor. This system-on-a-chip can be ramped up to clock speeds of 2 GHz and, thanks to its 32nm processes, is very power efficient.

[ See our complete Mobile World Congress 2012 coverage, live from the mobile industry's hottest event. ]

Intel announced several new chips and technologies that are on deck to help it invade mobile devices. Intel announced the Atom Z2580, a chipset that doubles the performance of the Z2460, and features an advanced multimode LTE/3G/2G baseband. Intel will sample the Z2580 in the second half of the year with customer products scheduled in the first half of 2013.

Intel also announced the Z2000, which Intel said is ideal for the growing handset opportunity in emerging markets where consumers look for more value at lower prices. The Z2000 includes a 1.0-GHz Atom CPU and supports the Intel XMM 6265 3G HSPA+ modem with Dual-SIM 2G/3G. It, too, will be sampled later this year and reach the market in early 2013.

All three of these chips use a 32nm process, but Intel has plans to beat Moore's law moving forward, according to Otellini. In 2013, Intel expects to introduce new mobile chipsets that use a 22nm processes, further boosting computing power and battery performance. Follow the 22nm processes, Intel has 14nm processes chips lined up for 2014, taking performance to the next level.

Intel didn't name these chips, but said they will help cement Intel's position in the mobile market.

Despite Otellini's bluster, the company has yet to bring any Intel-based smartphones to market (several announced, but they haven't reached store shelves yet). It needs to make that first step, successfully, before it can expect to keep its strategy on the tracks.

As federal agencies embrace devices and apps to meet employee demand, the White House seeks one comprehensive mobile strategy. Also in the new Going Mobile issue of InformationWeek Government: Find out how the National Security Agency is developing technologies to make commercial devices suitable for intelligence work. (Free registration required.)

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