1 - 15 August, 2003

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Intel prepares for smartphone assault

Chipmaking giant Intel is considering the creation of a separate consumer brand for processors used in portable devices as it battles Motorola for market and mind share, CNET News.com announced.

The core architecture of Intel's handheld processors is the company's XScale technology, which is also used in other Intel products, such as networking equipment. Xscale is a trademarked brand for chips that claim low power consumption and other features geared toward portable devices, but it has been primarily used in marketing chips to manufacturers.

The company hasn't yet created a consumer brand for handheld processors. In mid-2002, it filed the word "Iomir" with the US Patent and Trademark Office, adding that the name could be used with handheld computer and mobile telephone devices as well as a long list of other possible products.

According to the online magazine, Intel representatives declined to comment on the company's branding plans for handheld processors.

Smart-phone makers shipped 3.6 million units worldwide last year, up 160 percent from the year before, according to data from research firm IDC. Those numbers are expected to mushroom to 80 million units worldwide by 2007. Smart phones are devices that can transmit voice and data information wirelessly.

"This is something companies like Intel look into to manage its overall brand strategy. It's still very much up in the air," said one CNet source.

Intel's past marketing efforts helped establish the company as the leader in the PC chip business, in part by subsidising the costs of each PC manufacturer's advertisements if the manufacturer used the right Intel logo and Intel's familiar jingle.

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