It is interesting world to be in. Considering the fact that we are about to witness the clash of two titans. On one side you have the mighty Intel who has ruled the PC microprocessor space for two decades now and the grip only seems to be tightening. On the other hand you have the Qualcomm and Texas Instruments of the world who have been the major chip makers for the mobile phones for nearly a decade now.
So what happens when as the cell phone becomes more like a computer and the computer more like a cell phone? It is only inevitable that the two chip makers will clash. While Intel wants the inside of mobile devices to be its domain, so do Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.
One is trying to come from the PC and bring the entire ecosystem along. The other is trying to go up from the phone and build a new ecosystem. And who would the players in these ecosystems be?
Intel will be backed by Microsoft who wants to have a say in what becomes the de-facto OS for the Mobile Internet Devices. Qualcomm has partnered with Google who is coming out with it Chrome OS later next year which is being designed to exploit the enormous processing and storage power that the cloud (read internet) is continuing to build. Google’s hoping users will make the switch from a Windows world to a Chrome world.
Qualcomm whose 21% market share among mobile devices gives it a head start against Intel also makes use of the ARM architecture to design its chips. ARM architecture has been traditionally strong in exploiting battery power to the hilt and can power devices for a whole day on a single charge.
And now a 1 GHz ARM based processor from Qualcomm’s stable named SnapDragon will power next generation devices like the iPhones, Blackberry Storm and T-mobile’s G1 phones based on Android OS from Google.
Intel on the other hand has come out with a completely new line of processors named Atom and Moorestown that will be power efficient and targeted at the mobile devices market
While Intel hopes that Microsoft will be able to repeat the magic of Windows on PCs ; Qualcomm is keen on seeing Google emerge as the next big Operating System player.
The other interesting aspect to the whole war are the battles being fought on the sidelines. Who goes into which camp? Nobody wants to join hands with the losing side. Nokia, a major buyer of Qualcomm chips has also partnered with Intel recently to power its Booklet smart internet device. Apple has not chosen sides still.
An interesting war awaits…