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Intel on Wednesday said it is starting a new business unit dedicated to mobile devices called the "Netbook and Tablet Group."
While Intel did not officially announce the creation of the new unit -- which is unusual -- an Intel spokesperson on Wednesday confirmed the formation of the group and said that other business units within Intel will not be affected.
"Intel has formed a business unit focused on the continued growth and success of Intel Atom processor-based companion devices, lead by Doug Davis, the current head of Intel’s embedded and communications group," the spokesperson told CRN.
"The goal of this group will be to maximize the synergies between netbook and tablet Atom product line development, delivering innovative form factors and exciting new user experiences that integrate the platform software and hardware into both product segments," the spokesperson said.
According to a blog post from The New York Times on Wednesday, Intel formed the Netbook and Tablet Group in response to increasing competition in the mobile space.
“Netbook shipments will be heading north of 100 million and we’ll all soon find out what kind of market potential there is for tablets and these increasingly popular hybrid designs,” Bill Kircos, a spokesperson for Intel said, according to The New York Times . “It makes sense for us to sharpen our focus on these friends of the PC, and Doug’s experience running a similar and very successful embedded division makes him the right guy to lead the group.”
Some Intel channel partners believe this could be a positive sign that will increase opportunities to create solutions.
"I am very pleased to see Intel focus on this growing tablet segment," said Erik Stromquist, COO of Computer Technology Link, a Portland, Ore.-based solution provider. "They should have formed this group two years ago. However, I am confident it will provide a benefit to the worldwide channel."
Whether or not Intel's reseller partners benefit from the new platform depends as much on the level of flexibility and opportunity for innovation that Intel provides as it does on the technology itself.
"I believe that it’s essential for Intel to strike the right balance here so that as a system builder, we still have the opportunity to add value and help to design new platforms," said Andrew Kretzer, director of sales and marketing at Bold Data Technology, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder.