Intel Branches Out, Wants to Make Custom SoCs

There seems to be no shortage of news involving Intel, only this once reports say that the outfit wants to expend even more as far as clientele goes, choosing to try and make more communications and consumer electronics chips.

The past couple of years have seen Intel putting together and enacting some serious business expansion plan.

Where it was once mostly focused on making chips for personal and enterprise systems, it now has its sight set on other segments.

The tablet market is the most obvious example, but the Medfield might let it enter the smartphone field as well.

That said, it is now reported that the Santa Clara, California-based outfit also intends to begin manufacturing communications and consumer electronics chips for companies that don't directly compete against it, like Cisco, EMC, Motorola, etc.

One reason for this is the decision to make the most of the foundries it owns, and which will start making 22nm chips before the end of 2012 (and 14nm ones within a few more).

"Over the last few months we have been hearing comments from industry contacts that Intel is talking to OEMs about a foundry relationship. We have heard Intel is looking for ASIC designers and other support staff for this effort,” said analyst Gus Richard with Piper Jaffray in a research note.

“More recently, we understand Intel has approached Motorola. Currently, we believe Motorola has been working with Toshiba as an ASIC/foundry vendor for cell phone components. We believe the direct-to-OEM foundry model makes sense."

All in all, it wants to see its x86 chips and SoC (system-on-chip) devices in as many different electronics as possible.

"Likely target customers would include EMC, Cisco, Juniper, Sony, Motorola, Apple, Nokia, and other large customers of leading edge logic. Intel has clearly articulated they are interested in working with companies that want to use x86 architecture. The company is not interested in enabling its fabless competitors or ARM," said Mr. Richard.

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