Intel's forays into cellular-phone and home-entertaiment-device chips have fallen far short of the company's ambitions. Even strategic acquisitions intended to give them a boost into certain markets have largely soured.
One reason for Intel's recent track record may simply be poor timing: Intel was snapping up many companies while the market was falling after 2000. After many shuttered divisions and thousands of pink slips, Intel reorganized its communication efforts, a shuffle that culminated with the news that Paul Otellini would become CEO late last year.
More recent moves into mobile broadband communications have fared much better for Intel, though. Integrating new wireless communication functions into PC chipsets is starting to pay off for the chip giant. As more and more laptops adopt its Centrino chipsets, which add Wi-Fi connectivity to mobile PCs, Intel is pushing ahead with the next generation of broadband communications -- a technology called WiMax.
Last month, Intel inked a deal with Sprint
Intel has since successfully courted Nokia for its team. The Finnish mobile device manufacturer agreed last week to collaborate with Intel on mobile WiMax, committing resources to the development and testing of infrastructure and mobile terminals. Intel's partnership with top companies like Nokia and Sprint nearly guarantees a significant market presence for WiMax when it eventually arrives.
But many performance and functional questions about WiMax remain unanswered. Its performance relative to current wireless broadband solutions, such as high-speed 3G networks from Verizon
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