Intel CEO taking big steps to overhaul chipmaker

Brian Krzanich says the company will do things it's never done before -- like getting chips from outside the company and putting more emphasis on 3G and LTE processors.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is serious about shaking things up.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is serious about shaking things up.

Intel's CEO is putting the world's largest chipmaker on a fast track to change. That become clear Thursday at the company's investor meeting, happening in the shadow of a declining PC market.

Intel will open its factories to "any company" that wants to tap its leading-edge manufacturing capabilities, CEO Brian Krzanich said today.

To date, Intel has taken a very cautious, small-scale approach to making chips on a contract-manufacturing basis.

Separately, in one of the biggest revelations, Intel will develop a phone chip called "SoFIA" that will be built at a factory outside the company for 2014. If investors are looking for a sign of changes at Intel, this is probably the biggest.

That chip will have integrated global 3G and HSPA+ and the communications component will be based on an ARM design.

"SoFIA...is pragmatic targeting the entry-level market," said RBC Capital Markets analyst Doug Freedman in a research note.

And Intel is pursuing the tablet market with a vengeance. The company is aiming to quadruple tablets shipped with its chips to 40 million tablets in 2014.

Another sign is Intel's newfound focus on modem chips. For example, a future multimode modem will integrate the latest broadband tech, including TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA.

"The company is shipping its 7160 LTE product (7260 LTE-A to be out next year) as they believe products are world-class. Focus on smartphones is now focused on big players developing targeted solutions," wrote Freedman.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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