Intel gets serious about tablets, partners with Rockchip for China

by Patrick Pierra

May 28 2014

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich acknowledged that he missed the shift from laptops to tablets.

“It took awhile for us to acknowledge and accept the data,” Brian Krzanich said in an onstage interview with veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg at the first Code Conference. Krzanich was referring to market data showing that consumers were moving from laptops to tablets and smartphones.

For some time, Intel thought that tablets were mostly a fad and that all computer users would ultimately feel a need to upgrade their laptop.

As laptop sales started going down, Intel figured that mobile device should be a priority. A goal was set for Intel processors to power 40 million tablets by the end of 2014. “I’m not giving up on the phone and the tablet space,” Brian Krzanich said.

His comments came while Intel announced an agreement with China-based Rockchip to make a splash in the Android tablet market.

Rockchip designs “systems on chips” (SoCs) that combine a core processor with additional features like modem, memory or wifi.

These SoCs are heavily used in low-cost Android tablets which are popular in China. They usually include an ARM chip, while Intel chips are mostly used in higher-priced Windows tablets.

To get a piece of the action in the low-end tablet market, Intel plans to jointly design with Rockchip a new quad-core mobile chip. Expected to come to market in the first half of 2015, it will include 3G connectivity and sport the Intel brand.

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