Intel's 2013 adaptable roadmap: Think iteration, not innovation
Intel may accept been upstaged at CES (the Consumer Electronic Show) this year by Qualcomm's camp keynote address, which featured apish acting and an all-embracing mix of bedfellow appearances from Desmond Tutu, Big Bird and Microsoft's actual own Steve Ballmer, but the added austere botheration for the chipmaker is how it affairs aboveboard up to Qualcomm's ascendancy of adaptable processors.
Around one year ago, Intel categorical its ambitions to breach into the smartphone bazaar application a new adaptation of its Atom processor. One year on, we accept the Orange Santa Clara and the Motorola RAZRi, and little abroad to allege of, at atomic in the UK. To say that Intel hasn't taken the adaptable bazaar by storm is an understatement, but it did at atomic get into the bold aftermost year with some baby wins.
At its CES columnist appointment in Las Vegas on Monday, Intel categorical its new chips, which included two low-power chips aimed accurately at smartphones: namely, the Atom Z2420 (formerly codenamed 'Lexington') and the Z2580 (formerly accepted as 'Clover Trail +').
The 2420 is the lower specced of the two and is aimed absolutely at the huge befalling that lies in developing markets. It claims specs of up to 1.2GHz alarm speed, 1080p accouterments accelerated encoding and decoding, abutment for assorted cameras and "advanced imaging capabilities" begin in higher-end devices.
The Z2580, in contrast, is aimed at added boilerplate or high-end phones, with Intel claiming it's alert as able as its accepted bearing Z2460.
With Intel agreement added accent on the low-end and arising markets, it's bright area it sees the greatest befalling to breach into the adaptable amplitude in volume, an appraisal aggregate by the Linley Group of analysts, which said on 1 January that best advance in adaptable in 2013 will booty abode in China and added price-conscious countries.
"After years of antagonism to bear added performance, smartphone makers confused their absorption to the low end. In China, the world's better smartphone market, bisected of all smartphones advertise for beneath than 1,000 Yuan ($160), and some prices accept collapsed beneath 700 Yuan," the Linley Group said.
So conceivably the focus on low-end is a alive accommodation for Intel, abnormally because the actuality that its competitors at the added end of the bazaar are now aircraft quad-core handsets, with added on the way.
While Intel additionally categorical its quad-core Bay Trail affairs for the book bazaar at CES, abundant of that amplitude is bedeviled by ARM designs, acceptation Intel has a analogously difficult assignment on its hands.
Alex Gauna, an analyst at JMP Securities, said Intel's announcements "fell abbreviate of introducing any new advance architecture wins or use cases" and that its achievements were iterative, rather than "the bold changers its business is claiming".
Both Texas Instruments (TI) and Freescale absitively to carelessness the smartphone and book processor markets, illustrating aloof how little allowance there is at the top and the almost easier opportunities afforded by accepting your chips anchored in added devices.
With the alley advanced in the adaptable bazaar attractive rocky, Intel is affective bound to try and grab the easiest wins it can, primarily in developing markets that are not yet bedeviled by the big brands that own the high-end. However, with accretion pressures on and from handset makers, Intel will either charge to accommodate a able allurement to about-face to their designs or comedy the continued bold and achievement that arising bazaar success can be replicated in added complete regions. After all, Intel needs smartphones added than smartphones charge it.