Intel Inside for cell phones--sort of

Some Asian cell phone makers are putting Intel badges on their phones, showing that the handsets run on the company's chips.

Michael Kanellos Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.
Michael Kanellos
SANTA CLARA, Calif.--A branding effort similar to "Intel Inside," the ad and marketing campaign that helped make the chipmaker a household word, is coming to cell phones.

Some cell phone makers in Asia will soon put an Intel badge on their phones, indicating that the handset in question runs on a chip from Intel, according to Sean Maloney, general manager of the Mobility Group at Intel. The Mobility Group makes the company's phone, notebook and networking chips.

Phones don't have a lot of spare real estate, "but you'd be surprised where you can put something," he said.

Some Asian handset makers have already started to put an Intel label on the box the phone comes in.

Intel currently has only a fraction of the market for phones. It has landed its chips inside the latest BlackBerries from Research In Motion, but Texas Instruments holds a much larger market share in the overall mobile world.

Still, an Intel Inside push could help the chipmaker. The company pays equipment makers to put the badge on there--and cell phone makers, like PC makers, tend to love those extra marketing dollars.

Intel has been trying to become a player in mobile phones since 2000, but the company has just begun to win contracts with major cellular makers in the past 18 months. In part, Maloney said, the company's presence in phones is increasing because phones are starting to act more like PCs.

"More and more phones will have intelligence in them," he said.