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TI CEO: Intel's PC baggage will hurt mobile aspirations

Agam Shah | June 3, 2011
Texas Instruments' CEO this week took a shot at Intel, saying the company's history of making power-hungry PC chips could hurt its aspirations to compete with ARM in the handheld device market.

But ARM currently has an advantage as lot of new smartphone software is being written for ARM-based operating systems, Freedman said, adding that comparing ARM to Intel is difficult unless they are tasked with the same workloads.

"When Intel gets x86 cores running ARM-based OSes we will get the apple-to-apple compare we are looking for. We are finally starting to see Intel accept that change is required to win in the ultra-mobile space and they are redesigning the PC to look more handset-like," Freedman said.

Templeton said TI will continue to develop OMAP as an applications processor, rather than an integrated communications processor with a baseband radio. Many chip makers, including Intel and Nvidia, have been snapping up baseband processor companies with the aim to integrate them into chips. Nvidia in May bought baseband company Icera and Intel acquired Infineon's wireless business, saying it would integrate 3G and 4G communications radios in future Atom chips.

Not all applications need baseband chips, Templeton said. Many phones carry separate baseband and application processors, and smartphone operating systems such as Google's Android and Apple's iOS are evolving mainly under the application processor.

"There's no confusion about what business we are in. We're very attentive to the application processor and how to design it very well for these applications," Templeton said.

Separating the OMAP and baseband processors also provides flexibility to device and chip makers, Templeton said.

"Our OEM customers are going to prefer 'Let me select a processor, put my software investment on that and then let me have two or three baseband guys'," Templeton said.

 

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