Intel's plans to beat rival ARM at its own game with a range of smartphone-oriented Atom chips
looks set to be in jeopardy as the company's agreement with TSMC falters.
The agreement between the two companies - which saw Intel asking TSMC to produce Atom processors
on its behalf - is being reported by ITworld
as "on hold
" as the two companies fail to agree on how to proceed.
The memorandum of understanding is believed to have related to producing low-power Atom SoC units for use in smartphones and tablets, but according to TSMC's chairman Morris Chang the partnership remains static and there has been "no news
" from Intel for at least six months.
Intel spokesman Nick Jacobs responded to Chang's comments by stating that the company has "no short-term plans to bring an Atom processor manufactured at TSMC to market, [but] the relationship remains in effect and we are still working with TSMC.
If the cold feet are on Intel's part - as Chang's comments suggest - it could well be due to TSMC's recent deal with rival ARM, which sees the company producing ARM's Cortex processors
- a product which competes directly with Intel's latest Atom chips.
Alternatively - and given that the cold-shoulder treatment appears to have started back before Intel could reasonably have known about TSMC's planned deal with ARM - it's a sign that Intel is re-thinking its Atom-based-smartphone approach: with ARM enjoying a comfortable monopoly in that particular market, Intel could well be re-evaluating its position and moving its attentions elsewhere.
Do you think that Intel's decision to apparently snub TSMC comes as a result of the latter's dealings with ARM, or is it a sign that Intel is giving up the smartphone fight before it's even begun? Share your thoughts over in the forums