Inside Samsung's Galaxy Tab 3, an Intel chip

It's a big win for the semiconductor company, which has lagged in the mobile race.


After years of watching Qualcomm, ARM and Apple eat its lunch, Intel is regaining ground in the mobile technology segment.

The U.S. company announced this morning that its Atom Z2560 processor (and XMM 6262 3G and XMM 7160 4G LTE modems) will be in Samsung's new 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 3 tablet.

That's a big win for the company, which for years crushed the competition in desktop and laptop computing but was caught by surprise when mobile phones suddenly evolved into the smartphones and tablet computers that dominate the consumer electronics industry today.

Samsung has said that it intends for the Galaxy Tab 3 to be the leading tablet on the market; though my CNET colleagues aren't convinced of Samsung's straetgy, it still means that Intel nabbed a critical spot in a high-profile device that sold more than a million units since its launch in late 2010 and still aims to cut into Apple's leading market share with its iPad.

In short, Intel and Samsung deeply need each other: the former needs to gain traction in the growing tablet market that it knows is displacing its traditional desktop-laptop revenue stream; the latter needs to catch up to Apple in the tablet market the same way it has in the smartphones segment.

Sterne Agee analyst Vijay Rakesh hinted at this in his recent report on Intel.

"[Intel] is definitely increasing its focus on tablets and handsets and had a positive 32nm Clovertrail win into Samsung 10" Galaxy Tabs," he wrote. As for the chip's successor technology, code-named "Bay Trail" and expected next year, it will give Intel "a foundation to narrow some of the power gap with ARM."

With the tablet market expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 35 percent—that means 300 million to 400 million tablets expected to be shipped by 2017—there is lots of runway for Intel to mount a strong challenge to its chip-making rivals. Placement in the Galaxy Tab 3 is an early step.