At the Mobile World Congress on Monday, Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini offered up details on the company's latest mobile market moves. Those include plans for expanding Intel's smartphone product portfolio and new deals with Orange, Lava, ZTE and Visa.
During his announcement at the industry expo in Barcelona, Spain, Otellini also highlighted the company's strategy to expand its smartphone System on a Chip, or SoC, and Atom product roadmaps for the performance and value smartphone market segments. Intel did not return calls later seeking comment.
"It's obviously important for Intel to find known, sizable vendors that are willing to sign on to Atom as a mobile platform," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. "With Orange and the rest of the partners they announced, Intel has filled that particular bill."
Partners Show Off
Intel had its partners on deck. Yves Maitre, Orange's senior vice president of Mobile Multimedia and Devices, joined Otellini at the news conference to discuss a new Orange smartphone based on the Intel Atom processor Z2460 reference design. Maitre discussed how the phone offers Orange services like Orange TV, Daily Motion, Deezer, Orange Wednesdays and Orange Gestures.
Meanwhile, Vishal Sehgal,co-founder and board director of India-based Lava, announced the launch of XOLO Smartphone. The XOLO X900 is based on Intel's smartphone reference design and will be the first Intel technology-based smartphone in the India market. The device will be available from top retail outlets early in the second quarter of 2012 and will support major Indian cellular networks.
Intel also announced a multiyear mobile device collaboration across smartphones and tablets with global handset maker ZTE. He Shiyou, executive vice president and head of the Terminal Division of ZTE, discussed how his company's alliance with Intel will enable ZTE to move faster and create unique and differentiated products for wireless operators. He also announced that ZTE's first Intel-powered mobile device is scheduled to debut in the second half of 2012.
Intel Keeping Up
Beyond the partnerships, Intel announced plans for three new smartphone SoC products that expand the company's portfolio from the performance-to-value market segments. Intel will extend performance and energy efficiency of the Intel Atom processor Z2460, formerly codenamed "Medfield," to support speeds up to 2 GHz.
Intel also announced the Atom Z2580 processor, which doubles the performance of the Atom processor Z2460, and features an advanced multimode LTE/3G/2G solution. Intel will sample the Z2580 in the second half of the year with customer products scheduled in the first half of 2013. Finally, addressing the growing handset opportunity in emerging markets where consumers look for more value at lower prices, Intel disclosed plans for the Intel Atom processor Z2000.
"There have been some questions about what sort of potential Atom has in the smartphone in the mobile market. Intel has frankly had less traction there than they would have hoped to have by now," King said. "The market has been changing so rapidly, this provides evidence that the company is very much capable of catching up with and keeping up with the market and getting some sizable vendors on its side and on the side of Atom as well."