Intel has been trying to compete in the mobile world with its own processors from the Atom line. The problem Intel has run into is that it’s chips are typically not as power efficient as ARM offerings meaning devices using Intel hardware often lack the battery life needed to compete in today’s market. Intel has tried for years to pare down the power usage of its chips with varying degrees of success.
Word has now surfaced from the ARM developers conference held this week that Intel is opening its fabrication facilities to ARM chip manufacturing. One of Intel’s partners called Altera announced that Intel would be fabricating its 64-bit ARM chips starting in 2014. This was a very surprising announcement considering all the effort Intel has put into beating ARM in the mobile market.
Analyst Nathan Brookwood from Insight64 said:
It’s huge. Imagine ARM’s most powerful and technologically advanced 64-bits processor built on Intel’s leading-edge fabs. A duo that will be hard to beat.
Reports indicate that Intel offering its fabrication facilities up to make ARM chips is only the beginning of Intel’s plan. The move indicates that Intel is ready to compete with other semiconductor foundry firms such as TSMC for business from its biggest rivals in the desktop and mobile industry.
Intel is now willing to open its top-of-the-line factories to any manufacturer willing to pay premium for its services and some analysts believe this means that chip prices could come down due to increased competition.
Intel will build Apple’s A7, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon or the Nvidia Tegra for the right price. Now, the question is, are they ready to pay that premium and feed their direct competitor, except for Apple. But that would actually make business sense for everyone.