Breaking News
Blog

Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Threaded | Newest First | Oldest First
Sanjib.A
User Rank
CEO
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
Sanjib.A   10/24/2011 4:06:40 PM
NO RATINGS
Taking bold decisions in scraping a bad decision early is good for a company. But doing the same too many times doesn't indicate a good sign for an organization. Is it because of not so capable leadership or is it because of the economic turmoil?

metafor
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
metafor   10/24/2011 4:45:04 PM
NO RATINGS
There are a few things wrong with Intel's approach to smartphones and tablets. Chief among them is that Atom is just a terrible perf/W cpu. Another is that the closed and secretive nature of their SoC architecture means that it takes a lot of effort to port popular OS's over to it. All this leads to the fact that Intel is trying to operate its smartphone push like it did its PC business: try to gain proprietary, exclusive holds. Instead of embracing Android with its full attention, it's tried what, 4 times now to bulldoze another OS? To me, this seems to be a clear attempt at trying to recreate another Wintel environment. It's lucrative to be part of a Wintel ecosystem but it's very difficult in a market where you're the challenger.

dvescovi
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
dvescovi   10/26/2011 12:44:30 PM
NO RATINGS
I find it funny you complain about Intel’s “closed and secretive nature” yet propose Android as the way to go. What is Android other than a bunch of highly proprietary Google middleware riding on top of an open source operating system? Google, like Microsoft and Intel very closely guards what they believe to be their life’s blood. Google’s Android is very much proprietary …just like Microsoft’s and Intel products … get use to it.

eembedded_janitor
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
eembedded_janitor   10/28/2011 2:24:17 AM
NO RATINGS
"Google’s Android is very much proprietary". Help yoourself here: http://source.android.com/

caitlinbestler
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
caitlinbestler   10/24/2011 7:54:36 PM
NO RATINGS
Finding a market solution that enabled an x86-derived chip to address the mobile and/or TV markets without cutting profit margins for the server market was probably never an achievable goal. Keeping the server profit margins for as long as the server market insisted on over-paying for x86 compatibility was definitely the right move.

Luis Sanchez
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
Luis Sanchez   10/24/2011 8:39:08 PM
NO RATINGS
Is funny how the behavior of a company can be described with adjetives that belong to a person. What does this mean? Will this mean that a company is controlled by only one person? Or a few? Or is it just the nature of a big organization? Is it that they aren´t aware of their place in the mobile computing world? Interesting way to talk about the relation between Windows and Intel = Wintel. I wonder what will the long term crop be for Intel if it keeps droping development of certain projects and affecting small development companies? Non good I bet.

old account Frank Eory
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
old account Frank Eory   10/24/2011 10:48:15 PM
NO RATINGS
Indeed it is strange to apply human attributes to a corporation, but I think "hubris" is the perfect word in this case. It's more likely the result of a pervasive corporate culture, a set of shared attitudes and beliefs, rather than control by one or a few individuals.

sharps_eng
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
sharps_eng   10/24/2011 9:16:32 PM
NO RATINGS
It is costly for them, that's all. They have their own internal 'venture capitalists' funding both research and development, and getting customers involved early means that things are more public. They have a track record in pursuing new technology, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but their success doesn't correlate with other companies' experiences: for instance, no-one got bubble memory working either, but I think Intel made a Big Mistake abandoning RAM-based FPGAs especially when they were PCI-bus compliant. They would have had programmable SOCs years before anyone else. (Yes, I got burned on Intel FPGAs but I didn't blame the whole company, it was a separate division [grrr])

cdhmanning
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
cdhmanning   10/28/2011 6:23:44 PM
NO RATINGS
Intel have dabbled in many different segments and have always ended up dumping everything except their x86 line and associated motherboard lines. Many of their explorations were bought in. eg. They bought the StrongARM stuff from DEC and then sold it to Marvel. I would never design in an Intel FPGA or other part unless it has a second source. Of course you should blame the company as a whole. It is the corporation that decides to buy/let ho whole divisions. It seems many of these decisions to expand or contract are based on the current whims of Wall St.

Robotics Developer
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
Robotics Developer   10/24/2011 11:04:39 PM
NO RATINGS
I wonder if Intel while quick to drop an effort that is not panning out could benefit from getting in earlier on fewer projects? Does anyone know their track record? Wins versus misses? It would be interesting to know if they get it right more times than not and if their "average" was better or worse than the industry. Intel is a large player, but if ARM had got their act together and produced chips with much higher clocking and multi-core cpus earlier Intel would not have been the force it is and ARM would be in a better position.

cdhmanning
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
cdhmanning   10/28/2011 6:25:39 PM
NO RATINGS
If ARM was not there that void would have been filled by MIPS and other low-power technologies - not Intel.

DrQuine
User Rank
CEO
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
DrQuine   10/24/2011 11:48:50 PM
NO RATINGS
Could there be a more mundane explanation for Intel's emphasis on computers over smartphones? Intel is driven by Moore's "law". What began as an observation has become an obsession. Intel's focus is on doubling computing power in their chipset every two years. Smartphones require exquisite miniaturization and packing efficiency - a different focus.

KB3001
User Rank
CEO
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
KB3001   10/27/2011 11:19:54 AM
NO RATINGS
Correct. Intel has had its time really and the time has come for others to lead the mobile era.

eembedded_janitor
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
eembedded_janitor   10/28/2011 2:30:16 AM
NO RATINGS
Intel is hobbled by the x86. Relative to register rich RISC-like architectures like ARM, register-poor CICS x86 instructions need a lot of clocking to get stuff done. The only way to get x86 speed up is to vastly increase chip and instruction execution complexity. That means lots of transistors end up being clocked every instruction which means a lot of power gets consumed. All up, that means x86 parts are expensive and power hungry relative to ARM parts on any apples-to-apples comparison. High cost and high power is just totally incompatible with mobile space.

abrokalakis
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
abrokalakis   10/25/2011 8:44:02 AM
NO RATINGS
I think it is choice above all. In the PC world, you practically have a monopoly (x86 and Windows) because it is a very low margin business and companies not only have to combat each other, they have to "fight" with anyone not afraid to put a card in a motherboard. However look at the server side of things. Companies are paying very real money to develop their own Unix versions, to support Linux (almost all of the development is now funded) and not let single companies create monopolies (or at least monopolies that are not their own :) ). The same goes for the mobile and embedded markets. OEMs need multiple sources. If they go the Intel route then they only have one choice, one foundry, one supply source. If Intel asks too much they have to bend, if Intel does not execute they have to offer inferior products, if Intel delays, they delay, if Intel cannot allocate enough capacity, then they have no products to sell. ARM is a magnificent solution to this problem and you can see how many companies are using this model of multiple sources. Samsung design its own SoCs but at the same time it offers devices with SoCs from nVidia, TI,... . The same goes for Nokia, LG, Sony Ericsson, whoever else. And I think that this is why even Apple who so dearly loves proprietary solutions, has chosen the ARM architecture because it knows that even it screws with its own chips (for any reason, even if it is capacity) then there could be a relatively easy backup solution. If it had used Power or x86, that would not certainly be the case. Intel hates this choice model and unless AMD (or VIA) dont get their act together and offer solutions for smartphones or tablets, Intel cannot succeed. It needs others on its own court.

rick merritt
User Rank
Author
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
rick merritt   10/25/2011 1:45:39 PM
NO RATINGS
Intel has come up to speed a lot in SoCs recently, something most other chip makers have been doing for a couple decades. It has got religion in low power--and will have the products to show it in about two more years, I think. But it has yet to buy in to the idea of a customer-driven business model. It has had the luxury of leading rather than following customers to date, and can continue that model as long as it wants to operate only in the PC sector.

Code Monkey
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
Code Monkey   10/25/2011 2:58:49 PM
NO RATINGS
Chip companies look at margin. The margin was too low so they pulled the plug. They have more valuable chips to make in their fabs.

gatorfan
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
gatorfan   10/28/2011 6:11:38 PM
NO RATINGS
So they say now. If you subscribe to the disruptive technology headline of tablets and phones introduced by the wave of ARM based products, this may not be true in 5 years.

Code Monkey
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
Code Monkey   10/28/2011 6:24:04 PM
NO RATINGS
Clarification: The bean counters pulled the plug. That's the downside of being a publicly traded company. There's a lot of pressure to do what looks good this quarter.

HVREDDY
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
HVREDDY   10/25/2011 5:01:13 PM
NO RATINGS
They do have good technology in 3D stacks with atom coming up, but whether that will materialize to dominating over the ARM ecosystem remains to be seen. If Intel can pull a big OEM like Apple towards their ATOM core, like they did in the desktop & laptop market on X86, they are back in the game in mobile computing. They do have a clear advantage in manufacturing. It will be interesting to watch......

resistion
User Rank
Manager
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
resistion   10/25/2011 5:34:34 PM
NO RATINGS
Those who let themselves be abused by Intel deserve it.

wilber_xbox
User Rank
CEO
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
wilber_xbox   10/25/2011 5:50:37 PM
NO RATINGS
Its good to know what customers want and let them decide what solutions and product they would endorse. This approach has been successful but we should also look for alternative approach, which is used by Apple and is hugely successful. Intel is known for its innovation and even when the products may not be successful; the technology would linger.

mike655mm
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
mike655mm   10/25/2011 9:19:05 PM
NO RATINGS
What do you think was Apple's & Steve Jobs approach to new products ? Customers don't always know what they want. Yes, there are many things where you should get customers inputs but in technology, sometimes you have to take a bold leap. The biggest difference between Apple & Intel in this regard is that Apple was successful at it (most of the time)

cdhmanning
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
cdhmanning   10/26/2011 7:34:15 PM
NO RATINGS
The other big difference is that Apple generally sells fashion goods. Sure the stuff must work, and work well, but ultimately the difference between an ipod and some other MP3 player is "coolness" rather than any specific technical features. Intel doesn't sell end-user products. They sell chipsets to designers. They have to convince the designers that it is better to use Intel parts than other (mainly ARM) parts. Designers typically use quantitative measures like power consumption and cost and not nebulous concepts like "cool". While Intel's Intel Inside program might have worked for PCs there is little chance it will work for phones etc. Intel-inside also worked because Intel had established the industry standard for PCs. Using x86, and Intel in particular, has always been seen as the conservative low-risk option for PCs. That is not the case for phones etc where ARM holds that slot.

seaEE
User Rank
CEO
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
seaEE   10/30/2011 12:03:52 AM
NO RATINGS
What is implied by "fashion"? I think Apple has tried to make their products appeal more from a human aspect. While engineers want a product with the fastest processor and the biggest memory, the rest of the world wants a product with a little bit of style and class, and Apple has provided it.

eembedded_janitor
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
eembedded_janitor   10/30/2011 10:08:36 PM
NO RATINGS
I'm not at all knocking "fashion". Some of that is just purely non-functional aesthetics that will change from year to year (like curves vs square corners). Some of it is just looking cool and the associated marketing to build a brand. Some is also about improving easy of use. Nome of these are quantitatively measured. Chipsets, however, can be chosen by a pure numbers game. Cost, cost of support circuitry, battery life, ...

Dave.Dykstra
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
Dave.Dykstra   10/25/2011 9:22:24 PM
NO RATINGS
In recent years, Intel seems to be known more for evolving and adapting current products, than for innovating. The cellphone SOCs mentioned would seem to have been an adaptation rather than an innovation. But whether they innovate or adapt, they need to get market traction to get the product going, and cancelling projects after others have spent significant time and money to adopt them does not bode well for future adoption in the market.

Silicon_Smith
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
Silicon_Smith   10/27/2011 6:59:35 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree. It seems to me that Intel has an "all-or-nothing" approach to markets.It has been selling in a huge market for years without any significant competition and this has resulted in complacency vis-a-vis the customers and competition. It keeps wanting customers who rely on it due to its pole and sole position, and small and insignificant competitors. Neither of this would be on offer in the mobile and future computing markets.

danlutes
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
danlutes   10/25/2011 9:29:42 PM
NO RATINGS
"Taiwan has been so complaint" ^complaint^compliant^

GREAT-Terry
User Rank
CEO
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
GREAT-Terry   10/26/2011 6:00:39 AM
NO RATINGS
embracing x86 architecture may be a burden to Intel. Innovation is very important for this giant to turn around. Wireless computing is a sexy market for CPU but the requirement is quite different from traditional desktop computer, Intel must figure out a good direction to leapfrog the present hurdle.

KB3001
User Rank
CEO
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
KB3001   10/27/2011 11:24:19 AM
NO RATINGS
But Intel is what it is now because of x86. They want to pursue the same model in a different segment altogether (mobile) which does not work. It's the easy path for them and that's what big corporations do. I agree with Rick, Intel need to give their wireless baseband group a great deal of autonomy. Intel's traditional corporate culture is the problem here.

MikeSantarini
User Rank
Manager
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
MikeSantarini   10/27/2011 5:08:28 PM
NO RATINGS
a bit off topic-- why don't EE Times bylines have a space between your first and last names? It drives me a bit nutty.

Silicon_Smith
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
Silicon_Smith   10/27/2011 6:55:04 PM
NO RATINGS
Good observation, I just assumed it was the way the IDs were made. But it credits with actual names which should have a space between the first and last name.

Kurt.Peters_#2
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
Kurt.Peters_#2   10/28/2011 5:57:07 PM
NO RATINGS
"merging x86 cores and flash on a chip"... [I think you have that wrong]. They used to have XScale (which I believe is an ARM architecture) and divested themselves of it. I think your quote is wrong, and those "Hermon" and other Flash + logic chips had the ARM-based Xscale chip on them. Regardless, your point is better made by the fact that Intel COULD have had a large market share of ARM processors if they hadn't made that arrogant decision.

cdhmanning
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
cdhmanning   10/28/2011 6:33:57 PM
NO RATINGS
Not only "could have had". When Intel owned StrongARM, and later XScale, they did have dominance in the ARM mobile arena. Devices such as the ipaq and Psion 7 used these.

Bert22306
User Rank
CEO
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
Bert22306   10/29/2011 10:24:24 PM
NO RATINGS
As some have already pointed out, getting into smartphones requires certain specialized skills in packaging and "design," that perhaps Intel doesn't have a history of fostering. But the "connected TV" part, I find that whole scene baffling. For the record, I watch MOST of my TV through an Intel chips, these days. In fact, an Intel-based PC sits on the equipment shelf, along with preamp, amp, PVR, radio tuner, and the rest. So why anyone would think Intel can't play in this game, I haven't a clue. But there's more. Why did Intel need Google to begin with? What's so hard about creating a well-integrated, Web-enabled TV set, that simply uses the Web? Who needs these third parties? And/or, who needs to limit the user to a tiny number of pre-selected web sites, as most of these connected TVs and DVD players are? It seems to me that TV manufacturers could work with Intel to create an easy-to-use connected TV, one that can browse the web as flexibly as any PC. At most, you fine-tune the way a remote mouse would look and function, and the way the "favorites" (or "bookmarks") are created and displayed, to make the user experience when channel surfing more "TV-like." Simple. As to broadcasters, i.e. the local TV stations themselves, they can continue to create their local content, but they would have to make it available on the Web. However the bulk of TV viewing is not going to be local broadcaster content, just as it isn't now. The bulk comes from the major networks. There isn't much "blocking" broadcasters can do here. The major networks bypass local broadcasters, when they offer their content on the Web. That's what baffles me. I read these tales of woe, but they seem unnecessary fabrications.

timemerchant
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
timemerchant   10/30/2011 8:46:21 AM
NO RATINGS
Why all Intel? AMD ushered in the 64-bit x86 instruction set that saved us from the Itanium. Then the accountants pushed to have "Intel Inside", but the Intel marketing tactics were not very clean, as per fines and payments made to AMD for harmful practices. What Intel did do was to unite the desktop and free us from the likes of Wang, Burroughs, IBM, DEC, HP and a host of other over-priced hardware vendors. The price of a server at $2000 and a chip at $200 is a 10:1 ratio, so ARM is not really going to reduce prices much, even if the chip is $20. There are also too many ARM derivatives to track, and which of the 100 plus vendors is going to be able to create a standard that others will buy into? Hopefully the 64-bit ARM will converge the high-end but they have a long way to catch up to MIPS folks like NetLogic or Cavium.

Sheetal.Pandey
User Rank
Manager
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
Sheetal.Pandey   10/31/2011 10:13:04 AM
NO RATINGS
Its a big market where there are already strong players. I guess Intel likes monopoly

vikraman
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
vikraman   10/31/2011 9:01:06 PM
NO RATINGS
A correction : "Years ago Intel developed one of its first cellphone SoCs, merging x86 cores and flash on a chip, but.." I think it was an ARM Core with Flash on a chip.

ReneCardenas
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
ReneCardenas   10/31/2011 9:18:11 PM
NO RATINGS
If corporations can be attributed personal triat, I would describe Intel as a bully that won't go away from the sandbox despite all other kids playing fair and cooperatively with each other. The odd-ball kid keeps trying to make his-game/his-rules for the sandbox while others have a game of their own.

elih66
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
elih66   11/1/2011 2:41:49 PM
NO RATINGS
Hubris is the right word to describe Intel failure to enter the smartphones/tablets/TV area. As an Intel employee in the past, I was shocked by the over conservative approach they take. I beleive that it is deep in their DNA, and it will not be changed soon.

Bassman63
User Rank
Rookie
re: Why Intel is not inside TVs, smartphones
Bassman63   11/1/2011 10:49:23 PM
NO RATINGS
It's way too late for cell phones. In a Platform driven design world you need to be in the market in the beginning or you'll never catch up. One "new" market they should be looking at is the heterogeneous server market. Homogeneous computing could soon become a niche market. - Gary

Flash Poll
Radio
LATEST ARCHIVED BROADCAST
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.
Like Us on Facebook

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Times on Twitter
EE Times Twitter Feed
Top Comments of the Week