Business, Hardware

Intel and Nokia announcement ? it was boring


As we previously announced this morning, Intel Corporation and Nokia today announced a long-term relationship to develop a new class of Intel Architecture-based mobile computing device and chipset architectures with Nokia’s mobile communications knowledge.

Anand Chandrasekher, Intel Corporation’s senior vice president and general manager, Ultra Mobility Group, said that their collaboration unites and focuses many of the brightest computing and communications minds in the world, and will ultimately deliver open and standards-based technologies. Kai Öistämö, Executive Vice President, Devices, at Nokia said that we will explore new ideas in designs, materials and displays that will go far beyond devices and services on the market today.

They talked in generalities about how the Intel and Nokia effort will include collaboration in several open source mobile Linux software projects. Intel will also acquire a Nokia HSPA/3G modem IP license for use in future products. No word about 4G LTE [Long Term Evolution] technology, but do try to act surprised when that announcement comes. Questions were raised about the three-year-ago data card cooperation which didn’t go anyplace. The party line answer was mostly that the companies expect many innovations to result from this collaboration over time.

This sounded a lot like the March announcement by Intel and TSMC. That grand plan has seen more than a few bumps in the road. Earlier today BSN* put it on the line about TSMC fab yields, or lack of same: TSMC’s 40nm yield problems are still there. Not a very good 100 day report card on how TSMC is delivering on Intel’s Atom architecture SOC (system on chip) that was the last strategic partners hooray.

Today Intel and Nokia talked all about redefining what mobile computing can do. But, every time a question was raised on the “how-to’s”, the answer was ‘this is an announcement of agreeing to work together.’ They talked about the glittering generality of combining the performance of powerful computers with high-bandwidth mobile broadband communications and ubiquitous Internet connectivity.

The only concrete part of the Intel-Nokia Alliance is that Intel is going to license Nokia’s HSPA/3G IP modem technologies. But, when Chandrasekher was asked how that would affect Intel’s commitment to WiMAX. He said that Intel would forge ahead with their WiMAX and WiFi chipset products, not admitting that for the vast majority of the world, 3G and LTE [4G] are going to be the mobile broadband answers.

Öistämö was asked about LTE. He said this is a technology announcement and not a product announcement. He said nothing about last Friday’s announcement that Nokia Siemens was buying Nortel wireless units which include existing CDMA products and advanced research on LTE. Öistämö said that Nokia is committed to Open Source, including projects like Moblin, Maemo, oFono, ConnMan, Mozilla, X.Org, BlueZ, D-BUS, Tracker, Gstreamer, and PulseAudio. When asked if this new alliance will have any effect on Nokia’s ARM relationships, He said that there will be no impact on existing long term ARM partners.

Did we REALLY hear anything? Did anything REALLY happen?

I was immediately reminded of 1930’s Grade B black & white movies or the Lone Ranger black & white TV show: “Rustler’s Hideout”. Two cowboys say "Howdy" at a bar and start buying each other drinks. Then they go over to a card table to play a few hands of high-stakes poker. Nothing like the gritty, world changing Clint Eastwood character of the “The Man with No Name” in his magical Spaghetti Western Trilogy.

We will watch the marketplace for this one and report back in 100 days. For a one sentence summary:  Let’s just say the Intel-Nokia Alliance is mostly eye wash, just like the Intel-TSMC Alliance. Promises all about “We will work together”. Nothing more.