back to article Intel flogging Atoms for belated push into mobile market

While the PC market may be stalling, Intel's new CEO Brian Krzanich has been laying out his plans for Chipzilla's progress in his post-results analysts' call on Wednesday – and the future, at least for the short term, is all about Atom and mobile. "We've not always lived up to the standards that we've set for ourselves," he said …

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Silver badge

Even holding market share is not enough

Intel really do look like they have their backs up against the wall with huge competition for ARM-based devices.

Even if Intel can pull off the unlikely and keep up market share, that is not going to be enough. ARM parts cost a lot less than full-fat Intel parts. To compete, Intel will have to be selling a lot of Atom parts making a lot less profit per chip.

Intel are a company built around very high margin devices and re-gearing a company to survive on low-margin chips is hard. They might be able to get there in the end but it is going to be painful and Wall St is going to punish them.

What is sad is that Intel were in the game with their XScale ARM-compatible parts. If they threw all that process magic they are using on Atom at XScale they would be in a far better position.

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Silver badge

Re: Even holding market share is not enough

There's nothing stopping Intel from taking out an ARM License. Their process technology would mean that Intel-fabbed Arm would be the best of class.

However, they'd regard that as losing because they'd have to split the profit with ARM. They'd rather keep 100% of the profit, if they can.

It's a VHS / Betamax battle on a far greater scale. I don't care to pick a winner at present.

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FAIL

Re: Even holding market share is not enough

much as Intel would love to keep it's foundries pumping x86 chips for the world to glom, it ain't happening.

x86 demand is failing fast, as ARM and GPU-Compute devour Intel's markets.

Enterprise is being encroached by ARM, Supercomputing (formally 100% Intel) is now ~50% Nvidia GPU, desktop and laptop is dying as mobiles devour them and mobiles are run by ARM.

Intel will have to drop their price premium drastically if they want to compete with cheap ARM chips, as currently Intel charge over 2x the price.

lintel simply aren't competing on performance-per-watt-per dollar against ARM.

Hell even MIPS is making a comeback with Imagination Technologies (PowerVR guys) buying MIPS and announcing their "Warrior" processors.

Intel had to choose between shutting/slowing down foundries, or keep them pumping at full pace making other people's chips. Intel chose the latter.

Intel now cooks other companies chips in Intel's own ovens, chips from Altera and Cisco.

that's gotta be a hard pill to swallow.

now Intel keeps saying it wants to enter the mobile market, which we've heard since 2007 :http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2397964,00.asp

still waiting to see Intel make a dent in ARM's market.

Hell Intel even previous claimed by 2014 they would be selling more SoC's than "mainstream x86" chips: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/23/idf_soc_plan/

Still waiting.

Products or GTFO Intel.

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Megaphone

Re: Even holding market share is not enough

Nigel11 wrote: There's nothing stopping Intel from taking out an ARM License. Their process technology would mean that Intel-fabbed Arm would be the best of class.

They already have a licence, and not just a manufacturing licence, but an architecture licence, allowing them to change the design of the processor core.

However, they'd regard that as losing because they'd have to split the profit with ARM. They'd rather keep 100% of the profit, if they can.

It's not splitting profits with ARM who only take a minuscule amount per chip, it's not being able to charge obscene margins when competing every other ARM licensee.

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Silver badge

Re: Even holding market share is not enough

as currently Intel charge over 2x the price

If only it were just 2 x. Intel has, fortunately, even fatter margins which will give it room for manoeuvre but price-cutting is usually a one-way street and, in this case, the deflation argument (customers will hold off purchases expecting further discounts) is very likely to bite.

Major restructuring similar to what AMD has been through over the last few years (spinning out fab or design) are probably unavoidable and probably buying a graphics chip designer to compete in the SoC market. Currently, Intel still has an impressive performance lead in high-end chips (whatever you think of them the Xeons can do some serious work) but the competition is really starting to hot up (both NVidia and AMD have impressive offerings and new players are moving in).

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Re: Even holding market share is not enough

Intel have an ARMv5 architecture license, which is effectively worthless today.

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rav

It's not a belated push.....

The ARM ecosystem 5 years ago was not what it is today. HD Graphics, HD cameras, interent connectivity 5 years ago all were the goal, the dream. What ARM was back then was cheap, and used very little power. Today ARM is still cheap, uses quite a bit more power the penalty for a much higher performance envelope.

Lets switch to x86 from both Intel and AMD. 5 years ago x86 was power hungry and high performing. Low power was the goal, the dream and it took 5 years for x86 to evolve itself downwards to the point where is just now competitive with ARM who has evoved itself upwards.

ARM has always faced this performance ceiling and the consequences of it, when does x86 become a better solution than ARM? With all power consumption and performance curves being equal I would prefer a smart phone or tablet or notebook that runs compatible software. Notice that I said software not apps. An app is something that you eat before your main meal (for us colonials). You limeys call them starters.

So Intel and AMD have not entered the phone and tablet space belatedly, it has been a steady evolution downwards.

Intel has been so busy competing with AMD on the bleeding edge that it took a sea change in corporate design philosophy to entertain the concept of low perfomance being "good enough". That is what AMD has been saying for years. So we now have a knew race downwards. You can't have low power and bleeding edge performance, at least not with today's understanding of physics. Yes there are fabrication techniques which help such as FinFET, but power equals performance.

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Go

Intel facing tough competition?

We all know what happened last time.

How long until evidence emerges of Intel selling Atoms at below cost to win business, or accusations of other underhand business practices? Leopards don't change their spots...

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Pirate

The propaganda effort has started in earnest

Ottelini was lots of sound and fury: lots of jam tomorrow. Or at least, competitiveness in the mobile market a fairly constant something-under-12-months away.

Now it appears they've been caught commissioning sham benchmarks[1] (reported in earnest here at El Reg[2]), it seems the gloves are off to fight dirty.

[1] http://hothardware.com/News/AnTuTu-Mobile-Benchmark-Cited-By-Analysts-Fundementally-Broken-Heavily-Favors-Intel-Architecture/

[2] http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/14/intel_clover_trail_plus_benchmark_comparison_with_arm/

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Bronze badge

Re: The propaganda effort has started in earnest

I'm not disagreeing with your assignment but biased benchmarks are hardly a new phenomenon in the PC industry. You never have needed to look at the scores and ratings but only whose paying for it to know what the results are going to say.

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Re: The propaganda effort has started in earnest

What is new though is that Intel managed to optimize their compiler for an independent closed-source benchmark and convince the developers to use their benchmark busting compiler without publicly saying so. Then they paid ABI Research to do the dirty work and make the false claims. Presumably the "leaks" of Bay Trail AnTuTu scores were done on purpose as well.

It means that we have to take all future benchmark results where Intel appears to do well as possibly cheated in the same way, even if the benchmark appears to be independent initially. AnTuTu is quite tainted now, but I suppose that never stopped anyone before from relying on a bad benchmark...

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Bronze badge

the good and bad

the good news is that Intel and Microsoft have removed the 1024x800 Windows Starter wuth a maximum of a 10" screen restriction.

However they now seem to have locked the firmware so that it gets to be obsolete far sooner.

So no standard booting to Linux.Android or even OS/X.

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