Intel picks mmO2 for collaboration

The chosen one...
Written by Ben Charny, Contributor

The chosen one...

Intel is taking the unusual step of working with a phone company to fine-tune mobile phones that use its chips. The arrangement may be the start of a trend for other chip-makers and service providers as the telecom industry seeks to boost revenue. Intel will collaborate with UK-based carrier mmO2, the companies announced on Monday. Together they will choose new wireless services that mmo2 will offer for phones, which is based on Intel's PXA 255 processor. Then, the companies will add layers of new software to improve the services, said Intel spokesman Mark Miller. Other phone providers using Intel chips, including AT&T Wireless, may follow suit, Intel said. This is a break from the usual way chip-makers market their processors for mobile phones. Usually, a chip-maker supplies its silicon to a handset maker, then disappears from the picture. "What we're doing is a lot like what you can do with your car," Miller said. "You get a core set from the factory - in this case a carrier gets a mass-produced phone. Then, you maximize the horsepower." Gartner analyst Mike King said he believes Intel competitors will likely try to match the company's efforts. Texas Instruments and Motorola are the company's main rivals. Miller and King said they believe the cooperation will improve service, which they said should lead customers to increase their use of wireless data services. Many carriers offer the services, such as picture messaging, as they hunt for new sources of revenue. But so far wireless data has not caught on worldwide. Ben Charny writes for CNET News.com.
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