Intel is officially bowing out of the race to make smartphone chips. The company's current line-up of low powered Atom processors for smartphones and tablets will not see a refresh this year.
The Atom line of processors from Intel have been struggling to gain ground in-spite of support from Asus given the competition from MediaTek in the low-cost space and Qualcomm at the higher-end. The company is now shifting focus to 5G and IoT instead of going down the rabbit hole.
If we come to the specifics, Intel has just cancelled its upcoming Atom X3 lineup which consisted of the new Broxton platform and the fully-integrated mobile chipset SoFIA. These were designed for smartphones and tablets.
At present there is no word on whether CherryTrail's successor will ever make it to the market, but the current-gen Atom X5 and Atom X7 for tablets will continue to ship. But the company is clearly scaling back its mobile ambitions with no timeframe of a return to the mobile chipset business.
Intel had recently announced its Apollo Lake platform for tablets and low-cost PCs but there is no word as to when it will make it to the market. It seems Intel is re-evaluating its strategy on the Atom line-up and its broader mobile business. Till now only Asus was the steadfast partner for Intel with its Zenfone series of smartphones but the Taiwanese company later gave up and has now started using Qualcomm and MediaTek offerings since last year.
With its mobile chipset business in stasis, Intel's LTE modem business is sure to see a decline as well. The new SoFIA chipsets were to herald an all-encompassing mobile solution with integrated LTE modems, have now been cancelled and with no Intel chipsets to showcase the development on the front, the LTE modem business for now too will make way for seasoned players including Qualcomm.
The road ahead is tough for Intel and an evaluation on its mobile strategy is long overdue.