Intel enters telecom with new mobile communications unit

Reuters

Chipmaker Intel  is combining four divisions under a new mobile and communications unit in a bid to catch up in smartphones and tablets, where it has so far failed to gain traction. The new division combines Intel's netbook and tablets division, its ultra mobility division, the mobile communications division and the mobile wireless division, according to spokesman Robert Manetta.

"The ultimate goal is we want to speed up and improve the development process," says Manetta.

Intel's (Santa Clara, Calif., U.S.A.) processors power 80% of the world's PCs but the company so far has failed in the fast-growing smartphone and tablet market.

The new division will be headed by Mike Bell, who moved to Intel last year after playing a hand in the development of the iPhone at Apple (Cupertino, Calif., U.S.A.), and by former Infineon (Neubiberg, Germany) executive Hermann Eul.

Eul had headed Intel's mobile communications division, which included the cellphone technology business it bought from Infineon in January. Intel's mobile wireless group is responsible for short-range networking like WiFi and the ultra mobility group has developed smartphone processors.

According to an Intel spokesperson, one of the main goals of moving into the mobile and tablet space is to provide the software for phones and tablets such as the iPhone and iPad.

Intel has been adapting its PC chip architecture to be more suitable for mobile gadgets but it faces tough competition from rivals like Qualcomm (San Diego, Calif., U.S.A.) and Texas Instruments (Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.).

They specialize in energy efficient chips -- a big factor for devices that rally on batteries -- using technology licensed from Britain's ARM Holdings. Manufacturers are expected to unveil smartphones using a new Intel mobile chip, codenamed Medfield, early next year.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich, editing by Bernard Orr)

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