Nokia, Intel enter into tech alliance

Nokia and Intel announced a partnership on a new class of mobile computing devices, giving Intel another leg up in the wireless market. The two companies did not disclose when the devices would be available or what kind of wireless products they would develop together.

However, some outlines of the detail emerged. Intel will buy Nokia's proprietary intellectual property related to high-speed wireless technology. Nokia and Intel also plan on collaborating on open-source mobile Linux software projects. The two tech titans said they want to define "a new mobile platform beyond today's smartphones, notebooks and netbooks" for hardware, software and mobile Internet services.

The deal is a major coup for Intel in the wireless space, but no matter what, if any, products are released as a result of the partnership, Intel will face competition from entrenched market players such as Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.

"The company hopes that taking a slice of the mobile device market will provide an engine for growth outside of its traditional PC and server markets," said Adam Leach, the principal device analyst at Ovum. "However, the current family of Atom chipsets is not suitable for use in handsets and instead Intel has developed a new market segment for larger form factor mobile Internet devices (MIDs) positioned above smartphones and below notebooks." Leach said the announcement showed that Nokia was confident that Intel could produce a chip that was competitive with ARM processors.

Other analysts were confused by the lack of specificity. "It all sounds great, but without any content or timelines on products, it's hard to go with just 'trust us,'" Rebecca Runkle, the managing director of equities analysis company Research Edge, told the New York Times

The deal is one of several moves Intel has made recently as it seeks to establish itself in the wireless industry. In February, Intel secured LG Electronics as a customer, and said it would provide a processor for an LG-made mobile Internet device. The company also recently spent $884 million to acquire Wind River, which specializes in helping companies manage and develop software, especially for embedded systems and wireless products. Intel and Nokia have worked together in the past, Leach noted; in 2006 Nokia agreed to supply a HSDPA module for Intel's Centrino platform, but he partnership never resulted in any products.       

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this NYT article

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