The arrival of the netbook gave us options to go mobile without lugging around a cumbersome laptop that was bound to lose battery power and strain our backs. It was a great concept and demand was significant, for a while. In fact, it even spurred the creation of the Intel (News - Alert) Atom, a low voltage microprocessor. As is common with application deployment, however, the evolution in technology outpaced the capabilities of the netbook and new innovations were on the horizon.
The Apple iPhone (News - Alert) was already in existence in 2008, yet it hadn’t achieved complete market penetration. AT&T was the only network able to offer and support the device, and the tablet, in the form of the iPad, had not yet made its appearance. Fast forward to 2012 and the Atom brand was modernized to the System on Chip (SOC) platform, making it just the right fit for tablets and smartphones.
Since that time, the Atom has been aggressively competing with other SOC processors from manufacturers such as Qualcomm, Nvidia, Samsung, Texas Instruments (News - Alert) and others. Each of these companies uses CPU hardware, based on Cortex-A processors provided by ARM Holdings. As shown here, Intel is driving its own strategy in a highly competitive market. The challenge is the company doesn’t own as much as it would like.
Intel is known for higher quality and performance that is second to none. In the tablet and mobile space, however, their higher processor prices cause devices to be more expensive. The untrained eye can’t tell the difference in performance and therefore is more likely to gravitate toward the less expensive device. Application deployment then suffers and competitors enjoy strong growth.
Fortunately, Intel wasn’t satisfied with this positioning and took the necessary steps to come up with a new strategy. The goal: offer a line of cheaper quad core tablet SOC processors and help tablet manufacturers to cover the cost of using Intel Atom chips instead of those offered by ARM (News - Alert). With this strategy, the company hopes to power four times as many tablets in 2014 as it did in 2013. The move does kill revenue, however, and is based on a long-term growth strategy and not immediate returns.
To help offset what it will give up in Atom numbers, Intel is focusing its efforts on other application deployment as well. The company recently announced the availability of a new messaging app, available on both iOS and Android (News - Alert). Known as Pocket Avatars, the app uses an animated 3-D facial recognition technology to turn the user’s face into a funny cartoon. Look out selfies – a new way to capture you is coming to market.