Intel And Nokia Announce Mobile Partnership

Intel has been floundering a bit around in the pocket mobile and handset space for some time now. After grabbing a solid foothold in the netbook market (seriously, what netbook doesn't have an Atom under the hood these days?), the company is now looking to take the mobile space ever more seriously. In order to do so, the Intel has formally announced a long term partnership with one of the world leaders in mobile phone and communications technology: Nokia.

Anand Chandrasekher, Intel Senior VP and GM, Ultra Mobility Group

During a press call today, executives from both companies reiterated on numerous occasions that the announcement was simply a technological partnership. In other words, those hoping to hear about new product plans will have to wait a bit.  That said, we're still excited by the possibilities here, which the two companies contritely stated were "endless" in nature. The strategic relationship aims to "shape the next era of mobile computing innovation," and while an exact length of time was not given, "long term" seems solid enough for us to believe that Intel-based Nokia wares will be on shelves before too long.

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In a somewhat vague release, we're told that a new class of Intel architecture-based mobile computing device and chipset architectures will be developed, which will combine the performance of powerful computers with high-bandwidth mobile broadband communications and ubiquitous Internet connectivity. That description sounds an awful lot like a netbook, smartbook or MID to us, and given Intel's prior dablings with the latter, we suppose a Nokia MID isn't too far out of the question.

Another tier in this new three-pronged approach to the market is that both companies are confirming robust support for open source platforms such as Moblin, maemo and other Linux-based solutions.

The agreement also nets Intel a solid win in the IP department, as it has acquired the rights to utilize Nokia's 3G/HSPA (3.6Mbps) technology in future products. Sadly, neither company would say what kind of devices we'd see this in, but given Intel's familiarity with WiMAX, this pickup now ensures that the two can produce a mobile device that can pretty much hop online via any wireless protocol anywhere in the world. A thrilling thought for sure and it speaks to the possibility of Intel-based handsets as well of course.

Over time, Intel and Nokia are hoping to develop "many innovations," with Kai Öistämö, Executive Vice President, Devices, Nokia, stating the following:

"We will explore new ideas in designs, materials and displays that will go far beyond devices and services on the market today. This collaboration will be compelling not only for our companies, but also for our industries, our partners and, of course, for consumers."

It seems to us that the deal could possibly involve software and hardware. The two will work hand in hand to develop common technologies for use in the Moblin and Maemo platform projects, which will deliver Linux-based operating systems for these future mobile computing devices. All in all, we're left with lots of promise and not much substance for now. We're thrilled to see such big players linking up for this so-called "technological collaboration," but we'll be even more excited to hear of actual products. We're guessing we'll see a big Nokia/Intel presence at CES 2010, but here's hoping the initial fruits of the partnership start to sprout long before that.