ZTE and Motorola indicated that they are making Intel-powered smartphones. Samsung announced the Microsoft Windows 8 powered ATIV-S phones, beating Nokia to the punch. These are first signs of PC-business behemoths trying hard to find relevance in a mobile-first world of Apple, Google and Qualcomm.


It has been a week of firsts for Intel and Microsoft, two behemoths of personal computing that have lost a lot of their swagger (if not their money-making power) with the rise of mobile computing. Qualcomm and Apple along with Google have become the harbingers of the mobile future.

In the past, I have been fairly critical of Intel and have talked about Microsoft’s challenges with its new user experience in an app-centric world. This week, the two companies took their next (baby) steps into the mobile future, though it is still far from certain if they will be successful.

ZTE, a Chinese telecom equipment provider announced an Intel-powered phone (that uses the Intel Atom Z2460 processor.) Motorola, a division of Google confirmed that its first Intel powered smartphone could hit the market sometime later this month, while Samsung became the first mobile phone maker to release phones powered by the new Windows mobile OS called Windows Phone 8. The Samsung devices (branded ATIV S) beat Nokia to the punch when it comes phones using the latest version of Microsoft’s mobile OS.

However, the new Motorola phone, expected to be released on September 18 in an event in London, is a more meaningful development for Intel which has struggled to get a toehold in the handset business. To be clear, our sources tell us that only the European version of the device will be powered by Intel’s chips. In the U.S., the same phone will use Qualcomm chips as it is for the Verizon network and Verizon requires chips to support its wireless broadband networking standards.

Others such as Lenovo who use Intel chips are fairly marginal players in the smartphone business that is increasingly dominated by Apple and Samsung. The Google-Motorola-Intel partnership remains one of Intel’s showcase deals for its mobile chip efforts. Earlier LG had talked about an Intel-powered phone, but it ended up going with Qualcomm. Those in the chip business tell us that while Intel’s silicon isn’t nowhere close to Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line products, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant has come up with chips that have pretty solid power management. Now when Motorola launches those devices later this month, we can see for ourself how good Intel’s Atom chip really is!

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. When you’re taking baby steps into an industry that is already reaching maturity…. it doesn’t bode well for your success.

    Both Intel and Microsoft are 5-10 years too late on mobile.

    1. I’m not so sure if it’s that mature.
      For example my personal experience:
      Gmail multiple edits of draft over different devices might delete edits
      Every Android device seem to have a different idea where Draft on imap is and can’t be assigned
      Google docs is fine with edits over time from multiple devices but can’t handle tables on all

      In other words we are a long way from seamless creation on mobile. Plenty of space for someone to take over seamless creation and run with it. Albeit I have my doubts it will be MS.

      Or don’t trust the “reviewers”.
      Dave Winer:
      “You only learn where a product needs improvement through serious long-term use. Users gain that kind of experience, but reviewers and pundits generally do not. Their observations tend to be superficial. That’s why reviews written after a few days using a product often miss the mark. The real greatness or lack of greatness in a product doesn’t show up for a few weeks or months. Sometimes even longer.”

    2. I remember Intel Ex CEO Andy Groove saying “Only the Paranoid survive” it seems to me that Intel underestimated the shift to mobile quite a bit. It took some time for them to adjust their product strategy accordingly. They are making some progress and you should not underestimate the that it is not only about the chip design but manufacturing capabilities. I think that is the real strength of Intel. The are ahead of all chip manufacturer.

  2. S. Kyle Davis Friday, August 31, 2012

    OK, not to be “that guy,” but..

    “Isn’t nowhere near?” Grammar check please!

  3. It’s hard to walk when you are born retarded and crippled!

Comments have been disabled for this post