Intel makes more inroads in mobile market with new phones

February 27, 2012 By Steve Johnson

Further demonstrating its resolve to expand beyond the personal computer market, Intel Corp. on Monday announced that three more new smartphones incorporating its microprocessors will be introduced in other countries this year.

The smartphone makers are Orange, Lava International and ZTE. Intel CEO Paul Otellini, who made the announcement at the Congress in Barcelona, Spain, said more smartphones containing Intel's brainy chips will be unveiled in the next year.

"This is something we're doing sort of slowly and surely," he said, calling the three latest phones "exciting news."

Just last month, Intel disclosed at the that and Motorola would soon be selling smartphones made with the Santa Clara, Calif., company's .

Although Intel dominates the market for chips used in personal computers, it is pushing hard to get its products into other faster-selling consumer devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

"These announcements indicate Intel's strong forward progress in smartphones," said Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy, which advises businesses on tech strategies. Moorhead also noted that Intel should be able to make further inroads in the smartphone market next year when it plans to introduce a more advanced, but less power-consuming chip.

But he added that chipmakers using an alternative semiconductor design from British firm ARM - which are used in the vast majority of smartphones - also are improving their products. Given that stiff competition, some analysts contend Intel could have a tough time making a significant dent in the phone market.

Yves Maitre, Orange senior vice president of mobile multimedia and devices, said its Intel-powered smartphone will be available in the United Kingdom and France later this summer. Lava's smartphone will be available in India in the second quarter of this year, said Vishal Sehgal, that company's co-founder and board director. And will offer Intel chips in smartphones and tablets in China the second half of this year.

Although none of the phones are being offered for sale in the United States at this time, the deals are significant for Intel, according to spokesman Bill Calder.

Noting that China is the world's biggest cell-phone market and that sales of smartphones are rocketing in India, he said, "People sometimes forget that the U.S. is not the center of the universe when it comes to phones."

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