Intel and Nokia to join in mobile chip marriage

Intel is hoping that a deal with mobile phone maker Nokia that will create a new stable of mobile products with "Intel Inside". Intel is expected to announce a partnership in a press conference slated for 8:30 a.m. PDT Tuesday. The possibilities for both companies here are huge. Intel will be able to sell hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of new CPUs into a new mobile market, while Nokia gains access to technologies such as the Atom processor, which can spawn a new generation of devices.

The trick here is for both companies to make sure that this marriage delivers something new and unique. The world doesn't need another Nokia netbook with Intel inside. The world doesn't need another iPhone clone. But, what else can these companies shoot for? The biggest opportunity comes from re-inventing mobile devices, not just rehashing what's already out on the market.

A new type of netbook does make some sense, something that is more than a netbook in capabilities, yet less in weight and size. The market may be hungry for a next generation netbook, at least according to NPD research. NPD recently found that 60 percent of netbook users are unhappy with their netbooks, citing slow performance and limited functionality as the culprit.

Perhaps Intel/Nokia could use that information to develop a netbook that performs better, offers more connectivity options and even offer Google's Android as the operating system.

This should be a no-brainer for Intel and Nokia, after all the foundation is already in place to make that happen. Wireless carriers are already selling 3G enabled netbooks and Nokia is already in tight with the wireless carriers.

Another avenue for Intel/Nokia to explore is a device that merges hot technologies into a new form factor. For example, how about a mobile device that offers what Amazon's kindle can do, while incorporating some iPhone features and running Windows Mobile, giving users access to thousands of Windows applications? Give that device a touch screen with handwriting recognition and access to wireless technologies, perhaps creating a replacement for a multitude of other devices! Sell that unit via wireless carriers and target the consumer and education market and shake-up the cell phone, Kindle, iPhone and netbook markets all at once.

It all comes down to simple common sense. Intel and Nokia need to apply that common sense to create the devices that users need, not just rehash what is out on the market already. Both companies have the intellectual property and engineering know how to change the portable device market, but are both brave enough to take the risk to create something new? Only time will tell if the pairing of Intel and Nokia will be just another business announcement that fades into oblivion or marks a new portable device era.

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Frank J. Ohlhorst

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