x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Intel signs groundbreaking deal with Nokia

In a historic moment for the semiconductor industry, Intel announces it will supply its processor chips to Nokia, the world's largest mobile manufacturer.

In a historic moment for the semiconductor industry, Intel announced yesterday that it will supply its processor chips to Nokia, the world's largest mobile manufacturer. Intel dominates the market for the microprocessors used in personal computers and corporate data servers, but has yet to produce chips for the world's more than 2.5 billion mobile phones. "It's natural that the leaders in computing and communications come together," said Anand Chandrasekher, who heads Intel's ultra mobility group, which producers the companies smallest microchips. "Our efforts will unite and focus the brightest minds in both industries."

Historically, mobile phones have used processor chips made by manufacturers like Texas Instruments and Qualcomm, both of whom produce specialised sets of chips to power the hand-held devices. But as high-end mobiles become used for increasingly complex tasks like web browsing, e-mail and multimedia recording, the devices demand processing power comparable to laptop computers. Nokia refers to its now top-of-the-line phone as a "mobile computer."

In February, Intel's chief executive, Paul Otellini, told The National that the company's US$7 billion investment into shrinking its chips down to the new 32 nanometre standard would allow it to put laptop-style computing power into mobile phone-sized chips. "They will meet the form factor requirements for future markets, for the hand-held devices of the future," he said. "You will get the full internet in your pocket: think of something as fast as the fastest notebook you can buy today, as internet friendly as your notebook today, all in your pocket."

AMD, Intel's main competitor in the semiconductor industry, has in the past supplied specialised graphics chips to mobile makers. The company, whose largest shareholder is Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development, has said the mobile market will be an important one moving forward. Globalfoundries, the microchip manufacturing joint venture between AMD and Abu Dhabi's Advanced Technology Investment Company (Atic), has also said that producing chips for the wireless communications industry will be a major pillar of its business in the future.

tgara@thenational.ae