2014 looks to be an important year for Intel's smartphone plans.
Unnamed sources in the upstream supply chain claim that Intel is considering leaving the smartphone market in 2015 if it continues to see weak demand in 2014. More specifically, these sources say that Intel is evaluating whether the company should cease in spending resources on its handset business, as Intel hasn't seen any significant improvements over the past several years.
According to the report, Lenovo is no longer using Intel's processors in phones, which if true could be a huge blow considering Lenovo's overwhelming presence in China, not to mention its new ownership of Motorola Mobility. Because of this, sources say Intel will have to look elsewhere for business to be able to maintain its shipments for 2014.
Luckily, Intel has Asus in its corner, who is using Intel's chips in the ZenFone series smartphones. These will be launched in March, targeting China and the Southeast Asia markets. They are expected to cost $99 for the 4-inch model, $149 for the 5-inch model and $199 for the 6-inch model.
Some of the devices currently on the market with Intel inside include Lenovo's K900, Motorola's RAZR I, the Acer Liquid C1, the Asus FonePad, and a number of others. Looking ahead, the company is expected to release its Android-compatible Merrifield-based dual-core Atom chip at Mobile World Congress 2014 next month. This 22 nm platform will also include NXP's PN547 NFC component and the XMM 7160 LTE component, allowing Intel to better compete with Qualcomm.
After that, Intel is expected to release its 14 nm Moorefield platform in the second half of 2014 and its 14 nm Morganfield platform in the first half of 2015. That said, it looks like Intel isn't going anywhere in regards to the smartphone sector despite what the upstream sources claim.
When asked about the report, an Intel representative told Tom's that the company does not comment on rumor and speculation. We also asked Asus for feedback, and so far we have not received a response.