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Intel Snags a Cell Phone Partner

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on February 16, 2009

There’s been a great deal of skepticism about the potential for a new class of Web-surfing devices called Mobile Internet Devices. Chipmaker Intel has been touting them as an option that sits somewhere between today’s smartphones like the iPhone and Netbooks, which as mini-laptops that are used many for their Internet connection.

But LG Electronics seems to be a believer. The South Korean electronics giant announced at the annual Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona that it is collaborating with Intel to deliver a MID using the chipmaker’s Moorestown (Atom) processor platform.

For the uninitiated, MIDs could be any size and shape, but are essentially meant to connect to the Internet to watch videos, send emails and instant messages and browse applications. Smartpphones can do that now, but Intel believes people will want larger screens and potentially larger keyboards for a lot of these functions. Netbooks, of course, are meant to fit that bill, but pc makers increasingly as shifting to larger screen sizes of 10 inches or more as they pitch them as stripped-down laptop replacements.

The LG design win is a big validation for Intel, which is moving to grab a chunk of cellular industry business from the likes of Qualcomm and Texas Instrument. Those companies, Freescale and others, meantime, are moving to challenge Intel in the surprisingly strong netbook market.

Meantime, grpahics chipmaker Nvidia announced at Mobile World Congress that it this year will begin selling a $99 graphics chip package for MIDs called the Tegra 600. Nvidia has been working on the belief that device makers will want better graphics performance over Intel’s processing power.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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