Intel stops offering certain mobile chips as it gears up to lead the way for 5G

Intel stops offering certain mobile chips as it gears up to lead the way for 5G
Intel announced today that it has discontinued certain mobile chips. Looking to focus on profitable products, the chipmaker will no longer offer three chips offered in a line called SoFIA. These chips combine modem capabilities and processor functionality for smartphones. Also getting eliminated from the Intel product catalog is a variant of its Atom processor series called Broxton. This was a 14nm quad-core chip designed specifically for use in tablets.

Intel has missed the boat (and the plane, train and automobile) when it comes to a very strong mobile market that is just now beginning to feel the effects of over saturation in the smartphone industry. Part of the problem is that Intel has not been able to match the technology used by smartphone and tablet chipset providers like Qualcomm. For example, one of the chips that Intel is dropping featured 3G technology. Two other 4G chips were discontinued since they were already well behind the competition by the time they were launched.

Chief Executive Brian Krzanich says that Intel won't pack it in, but will instead focus on leading the way as the industry makes the shift to 5G. It is a tough challenge for Intel to be sure, but it might be Intel's best opportunity to finally make its mark in mobile.

source: WSJ



1. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Well that's bad news for those of us anticipating a Surface Phone running full x86 programs. Whenever I hear "Where looking towards the future!!" with Intel, they really mean "Nah fam, we don't have the time or tech to f**k with y'all". At least that's the sentiment with them and mobile IMO. I wonder if the days of Wintel (Windows and Intel's almost intimate relationship) are numbered considering Windows current UWP strategy.

3. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

How's this bad news for a Surface Phone? They're not ending their mobile chip business. This may delay the Surface Phone, but I frankly see it as good news. I don't want just another Windows Phone with a Surface branding, I want an x86 mobile chipset capable of matching or exceeding my Surface Pro's CPU/GPU performance. The technology for shrinking and cooling such SOC isn't there yet, but it will eventually get there. Acer's Fanless i7U 2-in-1 and HP's Elite X3 are slowly paving the way to that future. That's when I want a Surface Phone. TLDR, no rush.

4. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

That a good outlook to have I suppose. However, I don't think they can afford another delay past spring of 2017. Even then they'll be facing really stiff competition, so they need to get there ducks in a row. Otherwise what would be the point of making another niche product that won't help you gain any traction or market share. Hell it might not even be possible to run x86 programs without completely battery life. I'd still probably buy it regardless though.

7. vincelongman

Posts: 5808; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

BTW The Skylake Core m CPUs already match the A9X in terms of perf/watt And Skylake Core m CPUs are configurable down to 3.5W So I'd expect their 2017 H2 Cannon Lake Core m CPUs to be configurable down to 2-3W, low enough to be used in phones with any fancy cooling tech Maybe even their 2016 H2 Kaby Lake Core m CPUs, but less likely since its their "optimization" phase

17. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

That has never been the problem with Intel strategy: even the lowest mcore (m3-6Y30) costs $281 apice. Compare that to the less than $50 than cost any other smartphone chipset. Intel has been capping their mobile devices (Atom line) to sell the more expensive cores at a premium. So Atom line is not even near Kyro (or A72 or Cyclone) Cores are at lest FIVE times more expensive than the competitors. With that strategy is just impossible for Intel to enter the market.

18. vincelongman

Posts: 5808; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

True, very good point Intel's profit margins are far too high for phones at the moment And with Intel moving to more profitable sectors, it willing be interesting to see if they will ever re-entry the phone SoC market again

2. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

*that is*

5. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1186; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

Yup, just as I said in my other comment, Intel needs just 2-3 years to close the performance per watt gap between x86 and ARM architecture. The surface phone a lot of us still dream of could really become reality in 2017-2018

6. Hoggington

Posts: 356; Member since: Feb 23, 2016

It really is astonishing how Intel dropped the ball big time with mobile.

9. thunderc8

Posts: 98; Member since: Dec 15, 2014

Damn that's really bad news. After installing windows 10 on my zenfone 2 with z3580 I only dreamed how a full surface phone with x86 processor would be. After installing windows 10 on zenfone 2 I run and bought a full windows tablet and it puts all android and ios to shame... I wondered why I haven't done that years ago, we are talking about full Photoshop, AutoCAD, torrent, movies, games and all you do on your desktop but truth be said when rendering the atom is slow but I suppose an arm would be even slower.

10. darealist

Posts: 107; Member since: Feb 25, 2015

Welp. Wer're stuck with crappy ARM and all of the lowend crappy apps that comes with it.

11. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

I'm going to pretend that means they have an i7 chip for phones ready.

16. Micah007

Posts: 266; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

You never know that could be the case. We are rumored for 3 different versions of a "Surface Phone". I really find it hard to believe one of them won't have some sort of an Intel processor.

12. Guaire

Posts: 897; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

Intel is not just behind the connectivity. Its 14nm Atom tablet SoCs doesn't support neither LPDDR4 RAM nor UFS storage. That upcoming Broxton was gonna be slower than current generation high-end ARM chips. It projected with ~1600 Geekbench single core and ~5300 multi core scores. Merrifield and Moorefield has up to 13MP camera support. Not to mention lack of 4K video support. Correct me if I get it wrong, as I understand all the current Windows mobile apps compiled for ARM. So called Surface Phone with x86 SoC gonna get literally zero mobile app. On the other hand x86 can utilize all the Java apps hassle free.

14. Guaire

Posts: 897; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

All the Java apps at Android.

13. Awalker

Posts: 1986; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

They missed they're opportunity. They had nothing waiting in the wings to take advantage of Qualcomm's mess with the 810.

15. dimas

Posts: 3446; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

I want intel to step back, spend more time thinking about new possibilities then bouncing with bigger better chipsets that can take on qualcomm and exynos. Wait, nokia did those too much time thinking and people forgot about them. Screw thinking and proper planning, just flood the market intel and see what clicks.

19. 7thspaceman

Posts: 1597; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

The big question is how fast will USA cell phone networks roll out to 5G. intel has to be into 5G low power CPU's because Windows 10 PC Tablets, Laptop PC's and Ultra books require low power consumption CPU's and chipsets to give good battery life. Wow this could be the last year we will see Atom powered Tablets and laptop Computers. Intel should at least have some low powered Atom CPU's available for the lower costing full Windows 10 PC/Server/PC Tablet Operating System products. Core "M" tablets cost more i think than Atom CPU Windows 10 tablets and Laptops.

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