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Intel's Plan To Overtake Qualcomm's Snapdragon Platform

Intel's Plan To Overtake Qualcomm's Snapdragon Platform

The decline of the PC business could be problematic for firms like Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), which have relied on the industry for billions in annual revenue.

Famous for creating and marketing the Pentium, Celeron, Core 2, Core i3, i5 and i7 series of processors, Intel has been a PC staple for many years. While AMD (NYSE: AMD) and others have tried to compete, Intel has remained the leader for notebook and desktop PC processors.

Now that the industry is moving away from traditional computers, Intel must re-position itself and become a leader in mobile technology.

This transition has not been an easy one. Many of the industry's biggest players -- Samsung (OTC: SSNLF), Nokia (NYSE: NOK), HTC and Motorola, to name a few -- use Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) processors. Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform has proven to be very popular with smartphone and tablet manufacturers.

While a Core i5 can be found in the Surface Pro, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) chose to use NVIDIA's (NASDAQ: NVDA) Tegra 3 and ARM Holdings' (NASDAQ: ARMH) Cortex-A9 for the Surface RT.

Microsoft is rumored to add Qualcomm to its list of suppliers for the next-generation Surface. This doesn't mean Intel will be ousted, but it could eliminate any chance for Intel to power the Surface RT 2.

If Intel's new platforms are successful, the company might have better luck with the third-generation Surface.

According to DigiTimes, Intel is preparing several new smartphone and tablet platforms (systems on a chip) for the release in the coming months and the coming years.

In 2013, Intel will release its next-generation smartphone platform, which is tentatively known as Merrifield. The next iteration, Moorefield, will follow in the first half of 2014. Morganfield -- the expected successor to Moorefield -- will ship during the first quarter of 2015.

Merrifield will reportedly have a performance boost of around 50 percent, as well as longer battery life, than its predecessor.

Related: Amazon's Set-Top Box Poses New Threat to Intel, Apple

For tablets, Intel is developing a platform called Cherry Trail for release in the third quarter of 2014, followed by Willow Trail in the fourth quarter.

In the meantime, Intel is expected to unveil a number of processors during the company's developer forum in September.

If these processors prove to be as effective for smartphones and tablets as Haswell was for PCs, Intel might finally gain some attention from mobile manufacturers.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ


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