Intel is looking to boost its mobile hardware strategy

Low-cost Android tablets from little-known vendors with 3G capabilities may soon hit shelves with chips from Intel, which is looking to replace ARM processors in devices starting at $100. Intel on Tuesday struck a deal with Chinese chipmaker Rockchip to jointly make an Intel-based x86 Atom chip with an integrated 3G modem. The quad-core chip, based on Intel’s Sofia architecture, will ship in the first half of 2015 and go into entry level tablets, said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, during a conference call to discuss the deal.

Intel is getting much more serious about its mobile hardware strategy, announcing a newly-hatched deal with Chinese semiconductor maker Rockchip on Tuesday. The game plan is to churn out a new series of entry-level Android tablets running on Atom processor family chips with Intel’s 3G modem technology, resulting in a new Intel-branded mobile System-on-a-Chip (SOC) platform. Rockchip comes in to help on the design side, notably regarding input on screen sizes and form factors, which in turn will affect pricing. Both Intel and Rockchip will also be responsible for selling the quad-core SoFIA 3G platform to their respective OEM and ODM customers. Intel did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement, citing ongoing talks.

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