For months, the tech scene had been rife with rumors regarding Apple’s decision to “dump” Intel’s chips in favor of its own. From both the manufacturing and technological perspective, it is certainly not hard to see why: During the time when smartphones and tablets were still beginning to make their impact, the chip maker notably neglected to capitalize on mobile chip development, choosing instead to stick to a platform whose popularity had been shrinking by each quarter. By now, the PC industry has already lost much of the flare it once had, as can be observed in the disappointing global shipment figures. The market performance of Ultrabooks, which Intel CEO Paul Otellini reportedly put a lot of investment in, likewise offers very little to brag about.
The slight good news—for now, at least—is that Intel has shown a gradual willingness to adapt and is making some necessary efforts to change. While not necessarily in the same league as a high-end Qualcomm mobile processor, Intel’s Medfield (used in Google Motorolla’s Razor i smartphone) is a step in the right direction, and has reportedly earned some decent reviews, according to a previous report from Reuters. In a recent San Francisco conference, the company also unveiled that it was in the process of developing 22 nanometer System-on-Chips (SoC), which it claimed will be ready for mass production in 2013. No comments were provided regarding what product lines will utilize the new SoCs, nor what price range they will be in. What’s been widely confirmed, though, is that the chips have been designed specifically for mobile products like smartphones and tablets in mind.
In 2013, another interesting, major change set to take place is Intel’s leadership. Since Otellini’s retirement announcement, there’d been a myriad of discussions concerning who will be the next potential CEO. Some–even Otellini himself– insist the position will be given to a member from inside the organization, with people like Brian Krzanich (Chief Operating Officer), Stacy Smith (Chief Financial Officer), Renee James (Software), and Dadi Perlmutter (Head of Product) suggested as potential candidates. On the other hand, there are also speculations that Intel will make a bold move and hire a visionary leader from outside of the company. While such a leader may potentially facilitate radical changes and reforms, Reuters have pointed to the recent HP-Autonomy fiasco as a reminder of how risky external, transformative hires can be.
No matter what path is ultimately chosen, the US-based chip manufacturer, no doubt, has a lot of catching up to do. Rival chip makers like Qualcomm, along with tech giants like Samsung, are already ahead of the curve when it comes to manufacturing high performance and power efficient mobile processors.