Two of the biggest names in computing, Intel and Microsoft, are facing a bleak future in the consumer electronics market as new giants start to take market share away from them.
New Google Nexus phone running the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.
Instead it was Qualcomm who was getting the lion’s share of the attention, with several analysts claiming that the new corruption allegations being leveled at Intel by the US Federal Trade Commission and the New State Attorney’s Office were set to hurt Intel.
Several vendors including Motorola, HTC, Lenovo, Asus and Dell, all long-time Intel customers, have shown new devices running Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor, which is now fast enough to be used in advanced smartphones and netbooks.
It was quite clear at this year’s show that Qualcomm is becoming the chipmaker of choice for some of the biggest names in the business, with Google helping Qualcomm’s cause by announcing its new Nexus One smartphone running the new Snapdragon 1.2 Qualcomm processor on the opening day of the show.
BusinessWeek said recently that by getting its chips into a broader range of consumer electronics, Qualcomm is poised to compete head-on with Intel, which is currently the world’s No. 1 maker of semiconductors for computers. “Intel and Qualcomm are on a collision course,” says Flint Pulskamp, an analyst at technology research firm IDC.
A Gartner analyst said that some vendors who had been intimidated by Intel in the past to use their processors were now keen to move to other processor partners if only to “teach Intel a lesson”.
“Our chips are now going into consumer electronics devices themselves,” Qualcomm Chief Executive Paul Jacobs said in his first ever CES Keynote, a day after Paul Otellini, his counterpart at Intel, touted his own company’s foray into chips for mobile phones. In the first half of the year, Intel will start shipping Moorestown, a smartphone processor, which is set to be used by some European manufacturers who are still developing Windows Mobile-based phones.
Qualcomm is claiming that right now 40 devices from 17 manufacturers, including Google and HTC phones, are using its new Snapdragon processor and that this was a sign that the company is bridging the performance gap between chips that run cell phones and those needed for bigger, more demanding machines previously powered by Intel semiconductors.
It is also tipped that Apple could dump the Samsung processor in its iPhone and go with the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor later this year.
“Over the last two or three years, the partners that we deal with are new,” says Steve Mollenkopf, a Qualcomm executive vice-president and head of its CDMA unit. “It used to be the phone guys. Now it’s consumer electronics and phone guys,” he told BusinessWeek.
“The Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset represents some of the most advanced chip technology available today,” says Erick Tseng, senior product manager at Google. “Its 1 Ghz plus speed is one example of that.”