Intel Dangles $100 Million To Create Intel-Friendly Mobile Startups

Intel (NSDQ: INTC) has had trouble getting its chips into the types of mobile devices that are transforming the computing experience, and it’s ready to turn to an old-fashioned method: bribery. Intel announced the creation of the $100 million AppUp Fund Monday through its Intel Capital arm, which will make investments in companies that are working on mobile technologies that use Intel’s chips.

A household name in PCs, Intel is conspicuously absent from the smartphones and tablets that make up the modern mobile computing market. Virtually all of those devices–hundreds of millions sold each year–use processors designed by ARM and manufactured by Samsung, Texas Instruments, Nvidia, and others. And that’s despite years of work on the Atom processor Intel has targeted for this space to no avail.

But mobility is about more than phones and the iPad, and the story of mobile computing is far from over. Intel has been trying to spur interest in devices such as the Ultrabook, a thin laptop geared for travelers, with a similar fund and will likely find its way into a commercially available phone or tablet running Android or Windows 8 at some point.

Hence the fund, which made its first investments Monday in Urban Airship, a startup that is building marketing and development tools for the mobile minded, and 4tiitoo, which is working on an open-source tablet operating system and hopefully received enough money to buy a new name.

“The fund is built to advance computing innovations based on Intel architecture in key areas such as digital media consumption, context-aware computing and infrastructure applications. While the investments will focus across multiple technologies and devices, key areas include cross-platform technologies such as HTML5, as well as experiences designed specifically for Ultrabooks,” Intel said in describing the mission of the fund.