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Intel eyes fast-growing smartphone market

Chip maker aims to grow clout in low-end smartphone segment with new Atom processor

Intel eyes fast-growing smartphone market
The low-end spectrum represents the fastest expanding segment of the global smartphone market, says IHS.

Intel Corp has introduced a new Atom processor platform designed to target the fast-growing market for low-end smartphones in emerging economies.

The move say industry pundits, represents a shrewd strategy that could allow the chip maker to expand its currently minimal market share in this segment.

Intel, which rolled out the new processor platform at the start of the year, is aiming to reach out to consumers that are demanding low-cost smartphones that deliver high performance and full feature set.

"By targeting the low end, Intel can attempt to address the market with the greatest opportunity for growth in the smartphone business during the next few years," said Francis Sideco, senior principal analyst for Wireless Communications at IHS, a research firm that tracks the IT components sector. "With Intel now holding a negligible share of the global smartphone applications processor market, the company appears to be taking the steps it needs to in order to have a chance at expanding its presence in this segment."

According to IHS, the low-end spectrum represents the fastest expanding segment of the global smartphone market, with shipments more than doubling from 2012 to 2016. "Low-end smartphone shipments will rise to 559 million in 2016, up from just 206 million in 2012. Shipments of low-end smartphones will rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 51% from 2011 to 2016. In contrast, high-end smart shipments will grow at a CAGR of only 12% during the same period," Sideco said.

"In the emerging markets, optimising the cost/performance balance will be critical for success," Sideco added. "Intel will also need to heavily leverage its acquisition of Infineon to ensure it offers the best solution involving both the applications processor and the modem-the two primary processing functions in a smartphone."

Sideco explained that while Intel dominates the PC microprocessor market, in the smartphone semiconductor business, the company has no place to go but up. Intel certainly faces major challenges in achieving the kind of leadership position in mobile handsets it now has in PC semiconductors as the company appears to be serious about building its competitive positioning in the smartphone chip market," he said.

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