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Intel CEO says cars are the new smartphones

The chip company believes smart cars will be the next mobile phenomenon.

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After missing out on the phone business, Intel wants to get in early on smart cars.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich on Tuesday reiterated the chipmaker's goal of getting into smart cars and connectivity at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech Conference. He also acknowledged that it was too late for Intel to go after the already mature phone business.

The speech underscored how connected cars, which include self-driving vehicles that use data to drive themselves, represent the next frontier of the mobile business. The cars require a mammoth amount of data in order to participate in the internet of things, or the concept that everything around us is online and talking to each other. Intel and other companies, like Google and AT&T, are working on smartening up vehicles.

"[If you're] going for cellphone business you're shooting behind the puck," Krzanich said. "We are focusing our mobile towards where mobile is moving to."

The company is shifting focus after a steep decline in PC sales, Intel's prior core business. The company plans on tying PCs, its "data center, the internet of things and memory all together into one strategy that feeds on itself, as the world becomes cloud-based," Krzanich said.

At the same time, Intel struggled to break into powering phones like it did PCs. Its processors weren't as power-efficient as mobile ones created by competitors such as Qualcomm. It previously backed the wrong wireless technology in WiMax when the rest of the industry went with the now-ubiquitous Long-Term Evolution, which shows up on your phone as LTE.

The chipmaker hopes to not make the same mistake with smart cars, Krzanich said.

Companies have long seen the importance of smart cars, whether that be autonomous vehicles or incorporating cellular connection into cars. AT&T has linked up with the largest number of auto manufacturers to integrate connectivity into their cars.

Intel, for its part, believes that you "can't build cars without great people from the car industry," and will continue to work with experts going forward, Krzanich said.