Has Intel actually abandoned the mobile market?

Intel has announced that it is discontinuing its Atom processors for smartphones and tablets.

While this news has caused some publications to declare that the firm has exited the mobile market, it may be that Intel is simply entering through a different door.

It’s thought that the firm spent in excess of $10 billion over the last three years in an attempt to get a hold of the mobile sector. But after failing to make a big impact in the smartphone market, along with the declining state of tablets, Intel has ‘handed in the towel’ by killing some versions of its Atom line of processors.

The Atom range was aimed at competing with ARM-based chips in low-end tablets and smartphones. Intel spent billions on the chips and on convincing hardware makers to use them, but results from 2012 through to 2014 show that mobile revenue declined to $202 million from $1.7 billion in that time. That’s an 89 per cent drop.

While all this sounds dire, especially alongside the news that Intel is axing 12,000 jobs across the globe as it restructures the business, CEO Brian Krzanich has outlined the firm’s plans for the future, revealing that it will be making sure it’s at the forefront of 5G.

So while future mobile devices will no longer house Intel Atom processors, they may be working with Intel’s 5G systems.

Here’s what Krzanich said in a recent statement about Intel’s strategy for the near future with regards to 5G:

“Threading all of this virtuous cycle together is connectivity – the fact that providing computing power to a device and connecting it to the cloud makes it more valuable. A great example is an autonomous vehicle. It must have connectivity to the cloud, and the cloud must have machine learning capabilities to constantly be guided by the most up-to-date algorithms and data sets that allow the vehicle to operate safely.

“In this way, connectivity is fundamental to every one of the cloud-to-thing segments we will drive. As the world moves to 5G, Intel will lead because of our technological strength to deliver end-to-end 5G systems, from modems to base stations to all the various forms of connectivity that exist today and will exist tomorrow.”

While we’re still years away before consumers are using 5G products, ditching its low-end mobile tech in favour of working on next-gen mobile networks might be just the thing to get Intel’s foot firmly in the mobile market. Watch this space.

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