Chip-maker Intel’s plans to optimise its low-power Atom processor for the Android operating system are likely to increase the pressure on competitors ARM and Qualcomm to do something special with Windows Mobile 8.
Tim Coulling, an analyst with market researcher Canalys, said it was inevitable for Intel to move into the “adjacent market”, given its dominance of the PC and the growth of smartphones.
Intel’s problem has been to balance processing power needed for new apps such as 3D and augmented reality against power consumption and battery life, he said.
Intel CEO Paul Otellini said this week Intel’s collaboration with Google “will bring a powerful new capability to market that helps accelerate industry innovation, adoption and choice.”
Coulling said Intel and Microsoft had been moving apart before this. It started with Microsoft putting Windows on ARM processor designs, then Intel paid to port Android to its hardware. There has been a recent lack of noise around Meego, the joint Intel-Microsoft operating system for mobile devices, Coulling added.
Qualcomm hit back at Intel’s Android move by showing 3G/4G LTE connectivity on a Windows 8-based prototype PC at Microsoft’s Build software developers’ conference.
Qualcomm also said its newly-acquired Atheros’ WCN3660 combo chip would be the first in a series of 802.11n wireless LAN solutions to fully support Windows 8.
Intel and Google are already working together on Chrome, Google TV, the Android software development kit and the Native development kit.
But Intel is not giving up on Microsoft. Otellini said the chip-maker was also working with Microsoft to get its Windows 8 operating system working on a new range of tablet computer, hybrid devices and new, always-on, always-connected devices he called Ultrabooks.
Ultrabooks would have a battery life of 10 days while connected, and would start appearing in shops in 2013, he said.
Intel planned to demonstrate some Ultrabook capabilities on Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba devices towards the end of the year.