While Microsoft unveiled its new PC, laptop and tablet operating system, Windows 8 at its Build conference in Anaheim, Calif., Intel made an exciting announcement of its own, proclaiming a new partnership with Google that will help optimize Intel's chips on Android mobile devices.
The two companies will work together to improve upon Intel's lightweight Atom chip, which is more energy efficient than the company's other powerful processors, and speed up construction of Intel-based Android devices.
Intel, the world's biggest chipmaker in the computer and server market, announced its new agreement at its Intel Developer Forum. Intel CEO Paul Otellini appeared with Google senior VP Andy Rubin to showcase various Android tablet and phone prototypes, including the first Android tablet running on Medfield, an Atom chip built specifically for smartphones and tablets.
The chip contains only a single processing core, but provides better graphics performance and power efficiency for mobile devices. Intel expects to have its Android-based phones and tablets ready by early 2012.
For a time, Intel had hoped to power a Nokia smartphone by the end of this year, but the plan was dismantled when Nokia partnered with Windows Phone 7.
The smartphone business is not established in terms of who's going to win and who's going to lose, Otellini said. You saw how quickly Android took market share from Apple. So, good products on good platforms can really make a difference in this industry.
This is not the first time Intel and Google have partnered together. The two companies collaborated together on Google TV, and Otellini is a member of Google's board. However, the partnership is encouraging for Intel, which has struggled to compete with tablet and smartphone chipmakers such as ARM Holdings, the dominant chipmaker for mobile devices. Coincidentally, during Microsoft's Build conference yesterday, the company announced its support of ARM chips for its Windows 8-powered tablets and laptops. Of course, this decision to back ARM puts strain on the company's relationship with Intel, one of its most important partners.
Intel and Microsoft have a very similar background and share similar goals. Both companies have yet to translate their success from personal computers to mobile devices, even though Microsoft has long dominated the PC battle and 80 percent of the world's PCs use Intel processors. These announcements from the two companies, however, establish a greater commitment to mobile computing.