Nokia and Intel yesterday announced a partnership to work together to extend their existing relationship to:
- develop “a new class of Intel architecture based mobile computing devices and chipset architectures”
- define a new mobile platform beyond today’s smartphones, netbooks and notebooks enabling the development of innovative hardware, software and mobile internet services
- collaborate on several open source Linux projects including Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo
- license Nokia’s HSPA / 3G stack to Intel for use in its chips
Comment: The positioning of this announcement was that, now we can see mobile computing clearly emerging as a valid product category, it’s natural for the leading technology suppliers in computing and mobile to join forces to help shape the new industry as it forms.
Of course this has the potential to become a really significant partnership, but the two companies have been working together on various projects for a while and the announcement was so short on specifics that it’s a little hard to see what the big story is.
First the announcement focused on mobile computing devices, rather than today’s smartphones. So we’re unlikely to see an Intel powered N98 in H1 next year.
The 2 companies did say that the main difference from their earlier collaboration is that the time is right for their jointly held visions to start becoming reality – and this will give rise to new devices whose features go “well beyond” today’s products.
However, no details were given on the nature of the devices, only that the companies envisage a variety of form factors within the mobile computing category, supported by new services.
Second the announcement focused heavily on Linux software platforms, but didn’t exclude S60 and potentially other open source initiatives.
Third both vendors already have strong relationships in place for similar things. Intel has relationships with other radio providers such as TTPCom and Ericsson. Nokia uses multiple chipset sources for its phones. It currently uses TI for the N810 internet tablet but it would be consistent if it opted for multiple sources for the emerging mobile computing category.
Both companies were clear that the announcement has no immediate impact on those existing relationships.
So it would not be right to infer much – if anything – about the impact on other vendors who were not mentioned in the announcement such as Microsoft, Google with Android, or Qualcomm with its Snapdragon chipset pushing into mobile computing from a phone background (as opposed to Intel’s move into the area from a PC background). There is still room for Intel and Nokia to work with these players.
Probably the strongest message we can take away is for developers, that both companies intend to push Linux out from its current niche into beign a mainstream consumer option over the coming few years.