Nokia Corp.'s current bunch of wireless chipset suppliers can rest easy. Intel Corp. is not going to be bumping anyone offf the mobile handset manufacturers' supplier list anytime soon.
No new products will be rolling out at Nokia with "Intel inside" anytime soon and neither will Intel be barreling into the mobile handset semiconductor market with a supplier agreement as erroneously reported by a major news agency earlier today.
Intel and Nokia disappointed many industry observers today with their meatless announcement of a "strategic relationship" that was rather long on talks about PC-mobile handset convergence but starkly lacking in even the most meager details about possible new products from that union, the roles the companies expect to play in that unfolding world, the competitive landscape—possible consolidation, mergers, market share losses, and so on—and what form of OEM-chipset supplier deals they might engage in.
Anand Chandrasekher, general manager of Intel's ultra mobility group, and Kai Oistamo, executive vice president, devices, at Nokia, seemed surprised analysts and newshounds wanted concrete statements on the future of the partnership and especially the products that the market can expect would result from their collaboration.
"This is a technology partnership [and] so it's too early to talk about specific products," Oistamo said during a conference call to discuss the transaction. "We will talk about products when we are ready."
It may be a while before any such products enter the market. That's because both Nokia and Intel either don't know what these products will look like or they are hesitant to tip off the competition. I believe they are not sure how the much talked about convergence will play out.
Right now, the only converged products in the technology industry that have successfully merged some of the functionalities of the traditional PC with those of the wireless handset are the so-called smart phones like Apple Inc.'s iPhone 3GS.
Intel did achieve one goal with the announcement, though. It served notice on the competition that it will continue to explore opportunities to become a major player in the wireless communications market, notwithstanding any losses it might have in the past racked up.
The agreement announced Tuesday (June 23) includes efforts to collaborate on the development of "a new class of Intel architecture-based mobile computing devices and chipset architectures, which will combine the performance of powerful computers with high-bandwidth mobile broadband communications and ubiquitous Internet connectivity."
Intel said it will also license Nokia's HSPA/3G modem technologies. "The Nokia modem license complements Intel's broadband wireless technologies and will enable the company to extend chipset solutions incorporating Nokia's modem technologies across its mobility offerings in the future," Intel said.
That future sounds tantalizing, if only one were sure exactly what lies ahead.