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Intel's struggles in digital TV

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:digital TV? Tizen? mobile OS? wireless baseband?

But the knock-on effect is potential partners get shell shocked, unwilling to jump on the next big bandwagon. Among other past misfires: wireless USB, Advanced Switching Interconnect and Intel's network processors sold off to Netronome.

Yes, there were also roaring successes such as PCI and PCI Express. And Intel has made great strides getting the x86 into diverse embedded systems, including control plans in communications systems. But I cut OEMs and other partners some slack for being reticent about the next big Intel initiative.

I suspect Thunderbolt may be the next to go. So far, Apple is the only top OEM supporting the interconnect which overlaps USB 3.0, a link most PC makers have been working to support for years. Intel claims Asustek and Acer will adopt Thunderbolt next year, but I suspect the support may not be very broad across their product lines.

Indeed, Taiwan has been so complaint with every major Intel initiative it is almost complicit in fueling the x86 giant's hubris that it can boss its way to success. These days even top tier PC makers are so gutted of technical resources they rely more heavily than ever on Intel, adding swagger to the microprocessor makers' stride.

Intel badly needs to get key sockets in tablets and smartphones. Bulldozing Atom with whatever will be the new mobile Linux flavor of the day may look like the shortest path, but it is not the best one.

I think Intel should let its new wireless baseband group acquired from Infineon lead the way. The group should be a strategic listening post with ears deep into the operations of key handset makers, including Apple. Listen to what those OEMs want, what their struggles are. Look for a gap and when you find it, fill it quickly and cleanly.

That's an approach that requires a lot of humility, letting customers lead the way. Most of the semiconductor industry has been using that model for years.

If Intel wants to get beyond its browbeaten customers in the PC market, it needs to learn these widely practiced techniques and develop the patience to take the long road.

- Rick Merritt
?? EE Times

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