Intel mobile chief quits amid disappointing push to smartphones, tablets

Summary:Anand Chandrasekher, who led Intel's recent efforts in the mobile chip and platform space, quit as the chipmaker has struggles against rivals Apple, Nvidia and Qualcomm, the company announced today in a brief statement.Chandasekher had been senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Ultra Mobility Group.

Anand Chandrasekher, who led Intel's recent efforts in the mobile chip and platform space, quit as the chipmaker has struggles against rivals Apple, Nvidia and Qualcomm, the company announced today in a brief statement.

Chandasekher had been senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Ultra Mobility Group. He will be replaced for the short term by Mike Bell and Dave Whalen, both vice presidents of Intel Architecture Group (IAG), who will co-manage the group that makes the Atom and Centrino chips for mobile devices.

At one time, Chandrasekher's mobile group was the the fastest-growing business unit within Intel as manufacturers gobbled up the Centrino chips that "helped make Wi-Fi connections ubiquitous in laptop computers," said the Wall Street Journal today.

The company never achieved the same dominance in the handheld market, where most manufacturers have chosen chips based on the ARM design. But not without Chandrasekhar's regular claims of performance equity, said CNET's Brooke Crothers.

Chandrasekher had become somewhat infamous for making regular appearances at Intel conferences over the last few years and invariably waving a prototype smartphone or handheld device for the cameras, then promising that an Intel-based smartphone was on the way. But none ever materialized.

"The industry has gone right past them," said Ashok Kumar, an analyst at Rodman & Renshaw. "They're just another player [in the smartphone and tablet markets]. There's no first among equals," Kumar said, referring to the ARM processor business, which is dominated by an oligarchy of other big chip companies, including Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Samsung, Apple, Marvell, and Nvidia.

The fallout from Intel's mobile struggles may extend to larger devices, like laptops, as the performance margin between the devices shrinks.

The most recent incarnation of the Atom, "Moorestown," launched in May but did little to change the market. The next version, "Medfield", is due sometime this year.

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Topics: Smartphones, Hardware, Intel, Laptops, Mobility, Networking, Processors, Tablets

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