Krzanich said the software will be available for both the Intel and ARM processor architectures.
"This is not some fremium strategy and it won't have ads," Fey said in his interview. "It really is a commitment that computing should be safe."
While the details of the free offering weren't announced -- Fey said Intel is still working on the timing and even the composition of the deal -- the software will be stand-alone, full-featured and composed of current products or pieces of them.
McAfee currently charges $30 annually for its Mobile Security package, which supports Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Kindle Fire. "Most [mobile devices] are unprotected," said Fey. "That needs to change."
Intel will be following other mobile security vendors in making its software free. San Francisco-based Lookout, for example, gives away its widely-used Android antivirus app to individuals, but charges businesses $5 per device per month.
"If we build a relationship [with a customer], we will find monetization down the road," said Fey, hinting at Intel's business model. "Providing a valuable service is good for us long term, and we want to be seen as the trusted security provider."
In any case, Fey acknowledged, mobile device owners have been trained by app developers and the stores where they distribute their wares to be leery of all but the lowest-priced software. Prices vendors charge for PC software, for instance, are simply impossible in mobile. "It's not what the space is about, you have to think about [mobile] differently," Fey said.
Lookout took Intel's move in stride.
"We've expected other companies to take a similar approach, and look forward to seeing more companies prioritizing consumer safety in this digital world," said Lookout co-founder and CTO Kevin Mahaffey in an email Thursday.
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