By Noel Randewich
SAN FRANCISCO, June 28 Intel Corp's new
CEO said on Friday he would speed up the rollout of chips for
smartphones, tablets and wearable devices as consumers move away
from personal computers.
Brian Krzanich, an Intel manufacturing guru who took over as
chief executive officer in May, also took a cautious tone about
the top chipmaker's planned foray into television and said Intel
continues to look at the business model.
"We believe we have a great user interface and the
compression-decompression technology is fantastic," Krzanich
said. "But in the end, if we want to provide that service it
comes down to content. We are not big content players."
In their first sit-down with reporters since their
promotions in May, Krzanich and Intel President Renee James said
wearable computing devices would become a key battleground for
mobile industry players.
Krzanich, who mentioned he had Google's Glass wearable
device in his knapsack, said computing in the next few years
would focus more on items for eyes and ears, as well as
wristbands and watches.
"I think you'll start to see stuff with our silicon toward
the end of the year and the beginning of next year," Krzanich
said. "We're trying to get our silicon into some of them, create
some ourselves, understand the usage and create an ecosystem."
The world's biggest chipmaker dominates the PC industry, but
has been slow to adapt its chips to be suitable for smartphones
and tablets. Intel is anxious to make sure it does not fall
behind in future technology trends.
Krzanich and James said that under their leadership, Intel
will give much more priority to its Atom mobile chips. In the
past, Intel's most cutting-edge manufacturing resources were
reserved for making powerful PC chips, with Atom chips made on
older production lines.
"We see that Atom is now at the same importance, it's
launching on the same leading edge technology, sometimes even
coming before Core (Intel's line of PC chips)," said Krzanich.
"We are in the process of looking at all of our roadmaps and
evaluating the timing of some of those products. It's fair to
say there are things we would like to accelerate."
BIGGER FOUNDRY BUSINESS
James said Intel would grow its small contract chip
manufacturing business, a potentially significant source of
revenues. As did his predecessor, Krzanich left open the
possibility of opening Intel's factories to customers making
chips designed with architectures that compete against Intel's
Apple Inc, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
and other smartphone manufacturers favor processors designed
with architecture licensed by Britain's ARM Holdings Plc
, a trend Intel would like to reverse. Wall Street has
speculated in recent years that Intel could strike a deal to
manufacture Apple's iPhone chips.
"If there was a great customer that we had a great
relationship with laptops and other mobile devices, and they
said look, we'd really love you to build our ARM-based product,
we'd consider it. It depends on how strategic they are,"
Krzanich, a three-decade Intel veteran, said he changes
laptops and smartphones about once a month to try new ones out.
He is currently using a Samsung Galaxy phone and a Lenovo Helix
laptop with a detachable keyboard.
Under previous CEO Paul Otellini, Intel embarked on a plan
to launch an Internet television service with live and on-demand
content, entering a hotly competitive race outside its core chip
While Intel has said it expects to launch its service later
this year, as of earlier this month it had not yet finalized
programming deals with major content companies.
It faces competition from Apple, Amazon and Google, as well
as traditional cable companies.
"We're being cautious. We're experts in silicon, we're
experts in mobility, in driving Moore's law," Krzanich said.
"But we are not experts in the content industry and we're being
Processors based on technology from ARM and designed by
Qualcomm Inc QCOM.O>, Samsung and Nvidia Corp account
for most of the mobile market. But Intel has shown some recent
signs of improvement in mobile, progress Krzanich is keen to
Samsung has chosen an Intel processor for one of its
top-tier Android tablets for the first time.
And last month, the U.S. chipmaker unveiled Silvermont, the
most extensive overhaul of its mobile processors to date, with
improved performance and lower power consumption that some
experts believe might help it compete better against Qualcomm.