Intel (INTC) Moves To Cell Phone Market

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According to the FT, Intel (INTC) plans to push hard to move into the market currently held by the Blackberry and Apple (AAPL) iPhone. Its championing for the distribution of WiFi and WiMax is part of the formula.

Intel’s CEO says that company plans create more products to push "internet access, compute capability, small form factors, or high performance, or low power for cost savings, are all necessary ingredients to build these new classes of machines, whether it’s in computer. It is where the handset world is going, or where the world of consumer electronics is going." The company argues that putting Intel inside smartphones will allows them to access virtually any operating systems and most software that runs on PCs.

Intel clearly believes now that it can build chips that are small enough and take up so little battery life that it can successfully enter in the handheld device chip market. But for that to work, the broadband internet has to work on newer platforms like WiMax. The world of 3G and 4G phones is still going to be owned by the likes of Qualcomm (QCOM), Broadcom (BRCM), and Texas Instruments (TXN)  If Intel can get some real share of this market, it is bad news for all three companies.

Because Intel has aligned itself with Sprint (S) and its new national WiMax platform and the related system being built by Craig McCaw’s Clearwire (CLWR), the x86 firm is also saying that it is willing to challenge the large US cellular providers, particularly AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless.

That makes for a number of very large companies going after one critical market.

Always fun to watch.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does now own securities in companies that he writes about.