Desperate to break into the consumer technology market Intel has stunned the mobile phone and computing worlds by announcing a long-term relationship with Nokia to develop new classes of mobile devices based on Linux-based open-source systems.
The alliance will pose a strong threat to Google’s plans for its Android open-source system, which it sees powering many new devices beyond the current line of smartphones. And it will see Intel gaining a new market for literally millions of its Atom processors many at the expense of Texas Instruments and Britain’s ARM.
The deal was announced in a global telephone conference at 1.45am Sydney time today, in which a small band of Australian media, was invited to take part. Intel’s ultra-mobility group MD Anand Chandrasekher described it as the most significant collaborative effort yet seen in the chip and mobile industries.
The deal, as outlined by Chandrasekher and Nokia veep Kai Oistamo, the latter speaking from Espoo, Finland, has three legs:
The two companies will combine on using Intel’s architecture to design future mobile devices that go way beyond today’s smartphones.
They will also cooperate on developing common technologies for the Moblin and Maemo Linux-based operating systems for use in future mobile computing devices. (Moblin, hosted by the Linux Foundation with Intel help, is said to deliver visually rich Internet media experiences on Intel Atom-based devices, including embedded systems; Maemo is a Linux OS developed by Nokia and used on its N810 tablet).
Intel will license Nokia’s 3G/HSPA modem technology for use in future high-performance/low-power devices. However Chandrasekher said Intel also remained committed to WiMax technology.
Chandrasekher and Oistamo refused to be drawn on specifics of any future devices or timing targets but stressed the deal would be a long-term affair.
“We’re creating an exciting new industry,” said Chandrasekher. Said Oistamo:
“You will see a new class of devices here computing and mobile worlds converge.