With Intel’s latest purchase of ZiiLabs UK division they acquire an in-house ARM and mobile GPU design team. This purchase along with Intel’s earlier acquisition of Infineon’s wireless division and their 3G/4G LTE technologies signals Intel is doubling down on mobile. The ZiiLabs deal will allow Intel to free themselves from Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR graphics chips that are in their current Atom Z2460 smartphone chip most popularly in the Non-US version of the Motorola RAZR M. Intel does own 16% of Imagination Technologies however their tech is also licensed to Apple and Intel needs their own designs in order to bring a truly standout mobile SoC to get more Android OEMs on board using their chips in smartphones and tablets.
In the deal with Creative Technology the primarily audio oriented company that owns Ziilabs Intel will pay a total of $50 million. In the agreement Intel will receive engineering resources/personnel, assets, and patent licensing. Ziilabs key tech for Intel will be their StemCell media processor their most recent offering being the ZMS-40 which houses a 100 core design meant specifically for use in Android devices.
The future of computing is in mobile with smartphones and tablets growing to levels that will eclipse the PC Intel’s current cash crop. If Intel wants to remain an industry leader they will need to have a large mobile presence and Android is the best platform for them to achieve that success. Their next Atom SoC will finally have 4G LTE and will be compatible with U.S. carriers while also featuring Intels next Atom core and improved graphics. It is unlikely the recently purchased Ziilabs media processor will be inlcuded until the chip after next with Intel needing time to incorporate the design.
With Intel showing their dedication to producing a world-class mobile SoC to match their desktop chip prowess things are looking good for mobile consumers who want the best performance possible. Current chip leaders Qualcomm, Samsung, and Nvidia need to stay on their A game to fend of such a formidable heavy weight in Intel. Do you think Intel has what it takes to do to the mobile sector what it did to the PC sector?