Intel is well placed to make the leap to mobile

It's far too early to rule Intel out of the mobile game. The company's success with 14-nanometer architecture could give it the power it needs to elbow aside the likes of ARM and Nvidia.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
(Source: Intel)

Intel managed to dominated the PC landscape for decades, but when it comes to the mobile market, the Santa Clara-based chip giant is having a harder time elbowing the competition aside. But it's far too early to write off the company just yet.

There's little doubt that Intel has been slow off the mark when it comes to embracing the post-PC world. Whether this is because it was holding out hope for the PC era to continue for a few decades more, or whether it has been biding its time, waiting for the right opportunity, we don't know. Whatever the reason, you're far more likely to find ARM or Nvidia silicon inside mobile devices than you are hardware.

But all that could change.

First, Intel has been making great strides in miniaturizing its architecture, and next year the company plans to push out processors based on a 14-nanometer architecture. This is hugely significant because it will give the company a two to three year lead over its manufacturing rival TSMC. This die shrinking means that Intel can deliver greater performance without sacrificing battery life.

14-nanometer architecture could allow Intel to build quad-core processors with a TDP as low as 1 to 2 watts. In the post-PC world, it is not GHz that matters, but performance-per-watt, and Intel is positioning itself to be able to trump the competition.

Another advantage for Intel is that Google's Android operating system is nowhere near as architecture-dependent as PC operating systems. This means that while the likes of Nvidia and ARM have been able to get into the game early, there's nothing stopping Intel from leveraging its x86 architecture inside mobile devices.

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