Despite what seems to be nothing but losses on the mobile front, Intel isn’t ready to call it quits just yet, at least not formally. While some companies (HP and Sony come to mind) are divorcing their businesses in order to remain profitable in at least one area, Intel isn’t about to let someone else take its mobile and tablet business elsewhere. Instead, it will be merging that loss-making unit into its division in charge of making chips for PCs, in the hopes that they will finally hit some sweet spot in the end.
The public statement is that the lines between these devices, PCs, tablets, and smartphones, are continuously blurring, and so it makes sense, at least to Intel, to corral them all under one roof so that they can move faster. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you will start to see Core CPUs inside tomorrow’s smartphones. The reorganization would, at least at first, be primarily bureaucratic than technological. Of course, that’s the official story.
Pundits and analysts will most likely be quick to point out that Intel’s foray into the mobile world is a lost cause. Intel has failed to capture the mobile market the way it has desktops and laptops and it has been slow-moving against industry veterans such as Qualcomm or even Mediatek on the low-end. That’s not to say that there are no mobile devices running on Intel’s platform, as there are quite a number squeezing as much juice as they can from Atom processors. But even Intel’s partners in that area might be starting to lose faith. There is some rumor that ASUS’ next ZenFones, currently the most high-profile Intel-powered smartphones around, might be moving away from the chipmaker’s product. Intel is also banking on the nascent wearables market but so far there have been very little takers, aside from outliers such as the newly launch MICA luxury smartband.
Intel’s internal reorganization is expected to be completed early 2015, and it is unlikely we’ll see any major changes, for better or worse, immediately. The new merged unit will be led by PC chips top honcho Kirk Skaugen while his mobile counterpart, Hermann Eul, will remain to help with the transition until Intel finds him another post by next year.