Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) said in a recent press release it will, at this year's Mobile World Congress, "introduce and showcase a range of exciting new products and technologies, from the network to the device." I expect the company will talk about next-generation mobile chip solutions, including its very first integrated baseband and applications processor family, known as SoFIA.
As someone who believes Intel's mobile success is directly tied to the competitiveness of its product offerings in that space, I'll be watching carefully for details on the company's SoFIA products and related product launch schedules.
Look for SoFIA 3G parts
Intel claims it qualified its first SoFIA part -- a dual-core chip with an integrated 3G modem -- for production late last year. According to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich on the company's most recent earnings call, the part has design wins and is undergoing carrier certification.
In that case, I expect the company to disclose more detailed specifications about this first 3G-capable SoFIA part at the Mobile World Congress. It would also make sense for some of the company's partners to show off budget-oriented smartphone designs using the chip. Krzanich claimed this part has seen uptake with the company's "major OEMs and partners plus some," so it should be of interest to investors to see just what designs Intel has landed.
We should also get some SoFIA LTE news
Krzanich said he expects the LTE version of the company's SoFIA products to arrive later in the year (think mid-2015), so I would also expect the company to start disclosing specifications on this chip. That said, while Intel also likely has design wins in place for SoFIA LTE (design wins are usually in place well ahead of official chip launches), I'm not convinced partners will be willing to talk about those yet.
Finally, can we get an update on the SoFIA road map?
At Intel's 2014 investor meeting, the company displayed the following two product road maps outlining the near-term future of its mobile product portfolio:
Notice that Intel plans to launch a product known as SoFIA LTE 2 for the "value and entry" segment of the mobile market and a platform known as SoFIA MID for the midrange of the mobile market. Both of these products are expected in 2016, but this latest public road map doesn't give any further granularity as to when in 2016 these platforms will arrive.
At the Mobile World Congress, I have little doubt mobile chip heavyweight Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) will talk up some very compelling future platforms built on advanced manufacturing technology. Samsung (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF), too, will probably be beating its chest about its next-generation Exynos chips, which are expected to power the Galaxy S6.
It would be in Intel's best interests to assure investors that the billions the company is spending aren't going to waste and that this hefty investment will lead to competitive products sooner rather than later.