Intel Creates New Mobile Communications Group For Smartphones, Tablets


Intel Thursday confirmed it will be reorganizing its mobile business unit to create a new Mobile Communications Group (MCG) that will focus on phones, tablets and other mobile devices.

The chipmaker issued an internal memo announcing the organizational changes Wednesday, and said that MCG was part of an effort to build up R&D initiatives within the smartphone and tablet space. The new group will combine Intel’s former Mobile Communications, Netbook and Tablet, Mobile Wireless, and Ultra Mobility units.

"The new group is headed by Mike Bell, who spent many years at Apple, including working on the iPhone. Mike most recently worked at Palm before joining Intel," Intel spokesperson Robert Manetta told CRN. "The other co-leader of the group is Hermann Eul, who has spent many years as an executive in the wireless communications industry; Hermann joined Intel in January of this year when our acquisition of Infineon’s mobile communications business was finalized. We’re excited to have execs with such deep experience in mobile devices leading this new group."

The goal of the reorganization, Manetta said, is to speed and improve development of Intel-based mobile devices and to take full advantage of the mobile device expertise offered by Bell and Hermann.

Intel still maintains its legacy as the world’s largest chip maker, holding approximately 80 percent of the global market. While the company reports healthy revenues for its PC and server markets each quarter, it has yet to gain significant traction within the mobility space, where rival chip company ARM Holdings sees continued growth.

With its low-power chips fueling sought-after devices including Apple’s iPhone and iPad, ARM is confident in its ability to dominate the mobile market over the next few years. Tudor Brown, president of ARM, spoke with CRN earlier this year and discussed ARM's market dominance in mobile devices and the threat of Intel.

"ARM has…well, not total dominance, but a pretty strong presence here in the mobile device space," Brown told CRN. "And now Intel obviously saying it wants to come into that mobile device market, as we're saying, 'No, I don't think so'."

With this strong presense in mind, Intel is seemingly picking up the pace of its R&D efforts in the tablet and smartphone space in hopes of giving ARM a run for its money. In addition to MCG, Intel Wednesday announced an agreement with a near field communications (NFC) vendor, Inside Secure, which will enable the chipmaker’s mobility unit to leverage Inside Secure’s NFC solutions within its own. NFC is a standards-based technology that allows smartphones users to securely perform financial transactions or payments by simply tapping or being in near proximity of a receiving phone or device.

While Intel could not confirm which of its products, specifically, would be hosting NFC technology, it is clear that the adoption would take place within the mobile segment of its business.

What’s more, Intel recently became a sponsor of the NFC Forum, an organization dedicated to the acceleration of NFC technologies in the mobile space, and has taken a seat on its board of directors.