There’s little word on where Intel processors are heading, at least in the field of smartphones and tablets. Intel Atom based smartphones haven’t fared that well in the market (there are only a few to begin with), so we are expecting Intel to spice things up in the mobile chipset department this year. And the company did just that by announcing the Intel Bay Trail quad core SoCs for tablets a couple of days ago. This 22nm chip didn’t make much noise because of the other announcements at CES, but it certainly was pretty big news.
As we all know, Intel stepped into the mobile arena with Android devices like the Lava XOLO X900 (Indian brand) and the Motorola Razr i which launched recently. But sadly, we didn’t get to see this partnership with Windows Phone devices as Microsoft went with Qualcomm’s S4 series for Windows Phone 8. This is strange considering the fact that Intel and Microsoft are best buddies when it comes to full-fledged Windows computers, but not quite in the mobile arena. But now, a Microsoft exec has slightly hinted that we might possibly see an Intel based WP smartphone in the future. Of course he didn’t confirm nor deny it, but he mentioned in an interview with Computer World at the CES event as to how the Windows Phone platform has a “portable OS architecture“, hinting that the switch could be made with future iterations of Windows Phone.
We’re not sure why it isn’t happening already considering the fact that there are seamless opportunities for the platform to excel in that area, and also to stop the monopoly that Qualcomm has over Windows Phone OEMs. If Microsoft brings in an Intel or a NVIDIA into the fray, most of this can be avoided. But it all comes down to the top execs at Microsoft to take the call, because Intel has already been pretty open to the idea of supplying chips to Windows Phone OEMs, provided that the platform is a success. The chip maker has a few chipsets on the horizon which are in fact compatible with Windows Phones. When we think from Intel’s perspective, it is clear that the company wants to make an impact in the mobile market irrespective of which mobile platform it is involved with. The mobile world is ruled by Qualcomm, NVIDIA and Samsung made chipsets right now so it would make sense for Microsoft to have a more open approach towards this with future versions of Windows Phone.
There has been plenty of debate over the efficiency of ARM based chips over Atom chips, and in some cases Intel has reigned. ARM is probably the easy way to go these days, and with ARM’s Cortex-A15 CPUs surfacing, it’s going to be tougher for Intel to convince manufacturers to go with Atom based processors. Let’s see how things pan out for the company in 2013.