Undoubtedly, the era in which PCs were the most was governed by Intel, a company that today remains a benchmark in the world of processors.
After the arrival of smartphones, the market has diversified. ARM processors have allowed smaller companies to have the ability to create their own processors, something that has allowed the entry of large players in the sector.
After the arrival of the iPhone, and later its rivals with Android, Intel has tried to enter what is today one of the most lucrative markets in the world without much success. However, the return of Intel to the market of mobile processors is real and unexpected.
The Pixel 2 image processor was developed by Intel
A few days ago news began to arrive on the Google Pixel 2. In the first analysis, they discovered the existence of a chip that at the moment remains inactive. It is an image processing chip with artificial intelligence and is the first processor that Google creates.
Despite integrating the Snapdragon 835; the processor that shares with many of its rivals; the guys from Google integrated a second processor called Pixel Visual Core into the Pixel 2 and 2XL. This processor does not improve system performance or make games run faster. It is a processor dedicated to the treatment of images.
Well, it seems that it was not developed exclusively by the great G, but was the result of a collaboration with Intel. This is what they say on CNBC. In a mail, a Google spokesman confirmed to the media that they had been working with Intel in the Pixel Visual Core, clarifying that there was not a single chip in the market that did what Google was looking for.
There was not a processor in the market that did what Google was looking for.
Dedicated processors, an opportunity for Intel
Although there is no official statement about this, the possibility of creating dedicated processors that improve the photographic experience is a path that Intel could take to return to the mobile device market. Not as a rival to Qualcomm, Samsung or Apple, but as a supplier of a new component that could be essential for the high range in the coming years.
Artificial intelligence and photography have become two of the elements that we are paying more attention to, and that is because mobile processors at a general level offer us a great experience. Huawei is one of the manufacturers that is making more progress with its Kirin 970, chip that feeds the Huawei Mate 10.
How has Intel got to this point?
During the 90s, Intel managed to become one of the largest processor manufacturers in the world. Coinciding with the rise of home computers, the Californian company showed a clear dominance in front of its rivals, being AMD another of the great actors.
Back in 2007, Intel surprised the world with its Core 2 Duo, architecture that evolved to the core i3, i5, and i7 that we all know. In those years, mobile phones were not the way to go for the greats of the technological world, since the PC was still the world reference.
The Netbooks were the worst product of the PC era.
The fashion at that time began to be the Netbook. Ultra-small size laptops and low power. Possibly one of the worst products that the PC left us, and we are glad that they are not trending again.
Intel Atom: From Netbooks to mobile devices
Few people have good memories of the Intel Atom, and that’s because they were designed specifically to feed those Netbooks that we hated so much in the past.
However, the market gave the reason to these small, and is that the future of the processors was not in continuing to increase in power, but offer us each time a lower consumption. The era of the smartphone arrived, a market of great benefits was born.
Intel did not stay stopped since, in regard to processors, it continued reigning with an iron fist. The Intel Atoms still had an opportunity to reign in a market where energy efficiency was the highest point of interest.
Asus and Intel: The mobile alliance that did not last long
And of course, if we look at the trajectory of the devices that arrived on the market we can see that these new Intel Atoms were not as bad as the processors that gave life to the Netbook, although the truth is that they did not end up extending much.
The best ally that Intel had in Android was Asus, a company that launched several mobiles with Atom processors. As the most prominent model, the Asus Zenfone 2, mobile that was among the first to reach 4GB of RAM.
In fact, if we analyze or look for phones with Intel Atom, there is not much beyond Asus terminals or Chinese brand models, like some Lenovo. Intel’s participation in the market was very discreet.
Android and Windows 10, the last trick of the Intel Atom
The latest generation of Atom mobile processors was marked by the Intel x3, x5, and x7, a generation that stood out for its good graphics performance. But far from being integrated into mobile phones, where these processors really shone was in the world of tablets, thanks to a feature of interest to many. They were compatible with Windows.
Starting with the Intel Atom x7, which came to be on the Microsoft Surface 3, the Intel Atom has been in a large number of tablets, although most of the Chinese origin. These tablets stood out for including Android (generally 5.1 Lollipop) and Windows 8 or Windows 10, being able to turn the tablet into a complete computer, which without being as powerful as a tower if they are fairly capable.
Today, if we walk through a Chinese website we will find hundreds of brands, some even well known, such as Xiaomi with its Mi Pad 2.
What could Intel’s future be in mobile technology?
Last year we heard the news, and that is that Intel was withdrawing from the market of mobile devices, permanently burying their attempts to penetrate a market that could not adapt thanks to the dominance of ARM with the support of companies such as Qualcomm, Samsung, Nvidia or Apple.
However, that does not mean that the future of Intel will not keep any relationship with mobile devices. We have already seen that the Pixel Visual Core is a perfect example of the company still has a place in a market in which the power has gone into the background, and what matters most is knowing how to differentiate. And for that, chips dedicated to specific functions will end up having more and more prominence.
Another market related to mobile telephony is the Internet of Things, a market with great potential for the future, and which depends on processors with even more content consumption and networks that implement technologies such as 5G. There are two sectors in which Intel is more involved every day, and in which we expect them to succeed.