Analyst: Intel Phone Agreements Expected at MWC

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Intel is expected to announce its first carrier partnerships for its smartphones at the Mobile World Congress show at the end of this month, according to an analyst report.

Intel is expected to announce its first carrier partnerships for its smartphones at the Mobile World Congress show at the end of this month, according to an analyst report.

Gus Richard of Piper Jaffray said Friday that he expects the carrier relationships to mark a shift back to phones that are marketed as a carrier product, and not by the handset provider. Further movement by Intel with Visa is also expected.

Richard also indicated that he believes that the reports of Intel being among the first vendors to gain access to Google’s “Ice Cream Sandwich”, or Android 4.0, are true. That, alongside a new Atom chip from Intel, are reportedly ready to appear in a new handset from Motorola that’s due to be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress later this month.

Intel shocked CES attendees with its first prototype smartphones that chief exexcutive Paul Otellini unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show last month. Intel’s “Medfield” chip appeared in the Lenovo K800, an Android phone destined for the China market.

“We believe that phones on an Intel architecture deliver an unprecedented cusutomer experience,” Otellini said then.

But to crack the market, Intel may have to curry favor with carriers.

“We believe carriers want their own branded phones,” Richard wrote in an analyst report Friday. “This is expected to shift the customer relationship and control away from handset providers back to the service provider. We believe this is a major element of Intel’s strategy to break into the mobile market.”

Richard said that such a phone could tap into Intel’s McAfee security solution, plus its own silicon, to provide a secure payment platform. “Mobile payment would leverage Intel’s McAfee acquisition and its years of working on security in corporate environments,” Richard added.

In the same report, Richard also said that Apple is working on a notebook using ARM microprocessors, instead of those from Intel.

By Mark Hachman, PCMag


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