Eventually Intel will produce Atom SoCs with built-in 4G support.
Intel CEO Paul Otellini reportedly said during the most recent conference call with financial analysts that wireless wide area network (WWAN) functionality will be integrated into its SoCs developed from smartphones and tablets. This would seemingly help Intel distinguish its SoC solution from ARM's non-x86 design which is currently used in chips offered by Nvidia, Qualcomm and others.
"Over time, what we will want to do is grow [Infineon wireless technology] capability up by integrating the apps processor and the communication processors onto the same chip, while we drive our initial positions in apps processors from the top down," Otellini said.
Intel's acquisition of Infineon was completed almost a year ago. "The business enhances Intel’s existing communication portfolio with leading wireless mobility and cellular platforms, bringing together Intel’s strengths in WiFi and 4G WiMAX with WLS’ leadership in 2G and 3G, and a combined path to accelerate 4G LTE," the company said in a press release.
The new wireless business will now be called Intel Mobile Communications (IMC) and will operate as a standalone business entity within Intel’s Architecture Group to enable continuity of existing customer sales, projects and support, including ARM-based products, Intel said.
On Thursday during the conference call, Intel reported record revenue and profits for 2011 even though it saw a slight slowdown during the fourth quarter. The company said net revenues climbed 24-percent to $54.0 billion for the 12 months to December 31, net income was up 12.9-percent to $12.9 billion, and earnings per share rose 19-percent to $2.39. Revenues were boosted by acquisitions of McAfee and the Infineon wireless division earlier this year, the company said.
So when will Intel's 4G-integrated Atom chips hit the market? Intel declined to comment, so stay tuned.