updated 11:45 am EDT, Tue June 23, 2009
Intel Nokia Partnership
Intel and Nokia today struck a multi-year deal to develop a new form of mobile device processor architecture. The two have few details but hope to produce pocketable hardware which is nonetheless in a "new class" rather than a smartphone or even a larger system like a netbook or notebook. They intend to work together on multiple mobile Linux projects related to the architecture, including the oFono cellphone OS as well as Nokia's Maemo, Intel's Moblin and components they intend to share, such as Mozilla's browser technology.
In return for helping Nokia develop hardware, Intel is also licensing Nokia's HSPA-based 3G modem technology to merge it with its ultra-mobile components. Intel has so far promoted only WiMAX for long-range wireless and hints that it may adopt 3G in earnest.
The effort comes just as both companies are moving to a similar point in their mobile device plans. Intel is developing its Moorestown variant of Atom processors to make them small and energy-efficient enough to work within smartphone-sized hardware. Nokia, meanwhile, has expressed interests in developing netbooks but has been faced with the choice of using either particularly fast ARM processors or else switching to an x86-based design like that from Intel.
By themselves, neither Intel nor Nokia has been successful in bridging the gap between smartphones and computers. Intel has promoted a category of large handheld known as the mobile Internet device (MID) but has seen poor sales in its first months on sale due both to cost and size. Nokia has long maintained its N700 and N800 series Internet tablets but these, too, haven't usually sold well and are usually too large to fit in a pocket.