Intel Steps Into the Mobile Computing Market

By | Mar 27, 2012

IT professionals who are looking for alternatives to the iPad should be glad to hear that a new competitor is entering the fray. After dominating the desktop, laptop, and server industry alongside AMD for the past decade, Intel is now gearing up to take on the mobile computing market.

But the chip manufacturer is going to have to pull out all the stops to surpass the tech behemoth Apple, whose iPad is leading among tablet purchases. And it's not just in the consumer market that Intel will have to compete; according to a recent study from ChangeWave Research, corporations preferred the iPad over competitors at a ratio of 10 to 1.

At the moment, most processors for mobile devices use technology licensed from ARM and are manufactured by companies like Texas Instruments. The iPod and iPad both use ARM processors, and mobile devices from manufacturers like Nokia, HTC, and Samsung use ARM CPUs as well.

Despite the competition, however, Intel seems poised to move forward. In an interview with Reuters, Intel COO Brian Krzanich announced that the chip maker had restructured its manufacturing facility to begin producing hardware for mobile devices. "We will start to see more and more of our capacity and our output go to things that are mobile, like phones and tablets and other devices," said Krzanich.

The question is whether or not Intel can keep up with its rivals. The chip manufacturer is coming into the market several years late and is expecting to go toe-to-toe against established technologies. "Intel still has a lock on PCs and servers, but barely has any presence in smartphones and is just now gaining a toehold in tablets," Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, told Computerworld.

Then again, industry leaders like Lenovo and Motorola Mobility will already be shipping mobile device models using Intel's Medfield platform later this year.

Intel's entrance into the mobile computing market is good news for businesses, however. The ultrabook, which will have a limited release in 2012, is a hybrid computer with an extended battery life and Rapid Start technology. The PC looks and functions like both a laptop and a tablet. IT professionals who aren't thrilled with the iPad or who are looking for a Windows 8 alternative might prefer the flexibility that the ultrabook offers.

It's not just a matter of Intel versus Apple, or Intel versus ARM, however. As veterans of the personal computing world like Microsoft and Intel step into the mobile industry, technologies improve and expand. The tablet and smartphone market is continuing to grow by leaps and bounds, causing a lot of organizations to embrace bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. And cloud services make tablet computing even more relevant. As new options enter the market, businesses can select from products that best suit their organization's needs rather than feel compelled to select the iPad because the Windows 8 devices aren't comparable.