Intel's Otellini: Tablet race is nowhere near finished

Intel's Otellini: Tablet race is nowhere near finished

Summary: Heading into Intel's annual investor relations meeting on Tuesday, some of the big questions expected to be answered were about Intel's focus on mobile devices. Surprisingly, Intel is focused on something a bit bigger than smartphones and tablets.

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Heading into Intel's annual investor relations meeting on Tuesday, some of the big questions expected to be answered were about Intel's focus on mobile devices. Surprisingly, Intel is focused on something a bit bigger than smartphones and tablets.

Intel's CEO Paul Otellini emphasized Intel's plan for embedded devices, as it is the fastest growing sector of the company's business. Naturally, this included smartphones and tablets.

Although Otellini glossed over smartphones saying that there wouldn't be a big announcement regarding those devices during the meeting, tablets naturally took part of the spotlight. Affirming that Intel is "on track" with developing chips for tablets, Otellini said that Intel is working on 35 designs for multiple operating systems, including Windows-based models already shipping. Demos of tablets running on MeeGo as well as Android would be on display at the investor meeting in Santa Clara.

Nevertheless, Otellini argued that the future of the tablet market is still undetermined:

The tablet race is nowhere near finished. No one knows the size of this market. It's not just about tablets but different variants of it...It will require a tremendous amount of experimentation here for several years.

But more interestingly, Otellini spoke extensively about smart TVs. Here's some of the highlights:

  • First smart TV products with Intel chips in 2010 were Google TV products
  • Another round of Google TV with Intel power is about to be launched
  • There are nine versions of smart TVs with Intel chips shipping today
  • Smart TV adoption is not as popular in U.S. as it is in Europe
  • The leaders in Europe are France's Free and Italy's Telecom Italia
  • Smart TV products are shipping at a rate of 10,000 per day

However, as with any computing device, security is a serious focus on all of these products. That even applies to smart TVs, which are a fraction of the overall Internet-connected device market, but as they become more popular and pervasive, Otellini said, they will become a target by hackers.

Briefly touching on the security breaches seen at Sony and Microsoft this year, Otellini stated that "security is under addressed and an increasingly important element of our industry." Security has to be a primary element on mobile devices as they "carry more of our lives with them" each day.

Some of the measures Intel will be working on (which might sound controversial at first) including implementing more advanced tracking technology so that owners can not only determine the location of a mobile device but also disabling data and turning the machine off. Such technology is already seen today in several mobile devices, particularly on the iPhone and the iPad. Furthermore, Intel is working on a platform that enables one strong password that spans multiple devices. That also sounds a bit scary at first because if the wrong person finds out the password to one device, what is to stop the intruder from hacking into everything else?

However, Otellini promises that it will be "very simple and very secure at the same time." We'll have to wait and judge Intel's results when they become available.

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Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Intel, Smartphones, Tablets

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5 comments
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  • RE: Intel's Otellini: Tablet race is nowhere near finished

    Nice article. Different perspective from Intel, but then when they've been caught with their pants at half mast in such a glaring fashion they have to attempt to persuade us that they really are focused over 'here' instead of tablets and other mobile devices.

    I suspect their joined at the hip relationship with Microsoft put them in a position where they were unprepared for an ARM invasion as Windoze doesn't run on ARM yet. Unlike MS however, I suspect Intel will have the leadership necessary to adjust course and diversify and survive.
    dheady@...
    • RE: Intel's Otellini: Tablet race is nowhere near finished

      @dheady@... Actually, Microsoft is hedging its bets with the port of Windows 8 to ARM. I wouldn't assume that Microsoft and Intel are joined at the hip.

      Intel has known for years that Atom wouldn't win in the tablet and phone market by the almost total lack of design wins. For years, Intel has promised that processors which could compete with ARM were just one more Intel chip generation away -- and each time they have failed.

      When Apple bought the ARM processor design house a few years ago, it was a public slap in Intel's face that they were unable to design the processors that Apple knew it needed to create the iPhone and the iPad.
      It's not Microsoft that has led Intel down the wrong path, but exactly the opposite. Intel has been holding Microsoft back.
      zackers
  • Just like with Windows Mobile and Symbian...

    ...Intel based Smart TVs are the No. 1 players, but in a so-so market. The general public has not embraced this concept and is only buying because it's a given on high end TVs.

    Also, Apple hasn't got any traction, but they have learned that the future is more in the way of Roku, with ARM and a sub $200 pricetag.
    cosuna
  • RE: Intel's Otellini: Tablet race is nowhere near finished

    Intel's successfull marketing will come back and bite them. When you think of Intel you think of Intel Inside and so you think of a big cludgy resource hungry PC.
    ARM has the mindshare of tablets and I doubt Intel will find it easy or profitable to enter.
    global.philosopher
  • Snake Oil

    Otellini is conveniently confusing the number of design wins in actual devices with the design wins that are needed at the software OS level.

    Sure, most tablets and phones have yet to be designed. But the truth is that almost all of them will be designed around either IOS or Android -- and both of them are heavily invested in ARM. By the time Intel has a processor that can compete with ARM at the hardware level, the window for a new OS built around x86 will have long passed.

    Just look at Microsoft. They are scrambling to port Windows 8 to ARM, and it's a major time and resource sink comparable to when Microsoft had to stop Vista development to plug security bugs in XP. Microsoft is doing the port only because it's clear ARM has won the day.

    A year or two from now nobody will want to do the same sort of thing porting IOS or Android to a new Intel processor -- you will lose a complete design cycle and any technological lead you had.
    zackers