This is the best RF IC on the market for 4G LTE. Intel will next ask Fujitsu who makes the best LTE modem in the world and try to buy them. The advantage of the Fujitsu RF IC is low power. I think part of the purpose is not just to get the best RF transceiver on the market, but to get inside information on everybody else using this part.
When Motorola ran this group they mismanaged product development and had rapid sales decline. I was surprised they had anyone left to do this part. This part was developed with money from that Japanese consortium for 4G development. The consortium was supposed to do an LTE modem but that was going nowhere. Some companies have already spent over a billion dollars and come up empty.
A lot of companies are hyping their LTE products but it is not going well for them.
With the Infineon acquisition, they got just the 'tick'. Pure R&D needs about 500 people which they planned to hire later on for tock. Infineon lagged badly in LTE which is evident in Intel's desperation now.
I guess the two-phase manufacturing/design cycle could benefit from multiple feed-ins.
It is quite common to have processor IC implementation design teams dwell on a project for two or three years and leapfrog each other as they help the company bring out more frequent product introductions.
I guess the same arguments apply to LTE modem chipsets?
But I didn't know Intel always aspired to that, or couldn't generate it out of their Infineon acquisition.
I guess this team will be the 'tock' of Intel's tick-tock model. They have always wanted 2 parallel teams working on different generations of technology. With all the money it takes to make a good chipset, lets see how well they execute it.
Yes I was aware I had written that and should have linked to it.
In that context it looks like the Infineon acquisition, which did so well for Infineon, is somehow not delivering for Intel.
Is this a case of Infineon selling at the top of the value proposition because they could see problems ahead or is [yet another] case of big acquisitions being an almost guaranteed way to destroy value because of cultural incompatibilities?
Intel said it would not have integrated LTE until some time in 2014, 1+ years after rivals such as Qualcomm.
Apparently the Infineon wireless folks Intel acquired were not on a fast enough path to integrated, multimode chips so Intel had to change horses in mid-stream. Kudos for them having the courage to double down at this late stage in the game, but good luck ctaching up at this point.
It would seem like Intel has to hope for the next big inflection point beyond LTE if it is going to have a shot at a significant market share here.
A wireless product is made of many things. A good power efficient RISC processor (Which Intel is still developing), set of DSPs, a transceiver, Power Amplifiers, Software. And that is only a wireless modem. A development modem board is a green PCB with lots of ICs and wiring, and an antenna.
A smartphone usually has another set of application processor + the operating system (Android, IOS).
A lot of cost is involved in fabrication of the development boards, software development, test equipment, field test. All this just for the basic modem.
Intel is very very late in this business. It is now trying to put its hands into anything that it can get. Only a few companies have been successfully able to do most of these things: Qualcomm, Nvidia (To a certain extent), ST Ericsson ( now Ericsson).
(Samsung has its complete solution too, just that it is not too evolved. It does, periodically try to push its OS or its processor in some products, in an effort to reduce its dependency on QComm and others).
ARM, intel's competitor only licenses its architecture. Intel is now trying to become a Qualcomm which is higly unlikely. Intel is an amazing company, I want Intel to succeed, because competition is always good. Hope it works out for them.
>> With so many acquisitions, how is Intel going to manage putting all the bits and pieces together? Its not a plug and play world.
Acquisition is about both offense and defence. Intel can buy to get the jewel out of the hands of competitors. That is what happens most times. But in this case, Fujutsu has some real IPs that Intel can use to improve it wireless segment business.
This business is moving towards a real oligopoly after all the consolidations. It is becoming about scale than anything else. Someone was analysing the new Moto smartphone from Motorola and how the $500m ad buget pales to the estimated $6b that Samsung spends. In other words, in a crowded system, you can have a great technology and still fail. You need that size to spend to win not just in tech but the marketing blitz.