Mark the date, everyone. August 16, 2016 is when Intel finally admitted it had lost the race in the mobile chipset market and announced a deal which would allow the company to build ARM-based chipsets for mobile and Internet of Things devices. Intel was and still is the main force in the desktop market (the laptop market is slipping as Chromebooks rise), but Intel never had a chance in mobile. Intel tried to get its x86 chipsets into mobile devices, and although the processors worked well in devices like the Nexus 9, ARM-based chips from the likes of Qualcomm, Samsung, and MediaTek have dominated the space.
Today, Intel announced a deal with ARM which will allow Intel’s manufacturing processes from the Intel Custom Foundry to be used to build chipsets using ARM technology. The mixture of these technologies means we can look forward to super-small chips for mobile and IoT devices that will be extremely powerful and power efficient. Intel also announced the first set of customers that will be using its Custom Foundry, including LG Electronics which “will produce a world-class mobile platform based on Intel Custom Foundry’s 10 nm design platform.”
This deal opens up Intel to future deals which could include building chipsets for even bigger manufacturers like Apple and Samsung, which Intel had been rumored to negotiate with in the past, but never got anywhere in those talks.
We’ll definitely have to keep an eye on this because it marks the start of an interesting new competitor in the chipset market.