Intel and Nokia just announced a strategic partnership to tie up the two companies' technology so they can tackle the problem of next-generation mobile computers. It's a plan that makes perfect sense in a world where we're all used to iPhones and netbooks.
When announcing the news, both Intel's Anand Chandresekher, SVP of Ultra Mobility and Nokia's Kai Öistämö, EVP of Devices, were careful to use the words "long-term partnership"—and this is the heart of the deal. The two companies aren't planning on rushing out devices anytime soon. Rather, the deal is a marriage between a company with a long history of chip innovation and one that's experienced at making mobile devices. Of course it's Intel's Atom chip that pushed the netbook revolution, and if Nokia can cram some of that Intel chip power into its smartphones, then the device's capabilities could soar.
Ultimately the goal is to push the development of mobile computers, continuing a trend that's seen notebooks overtake desktop sales, netbooks innovate the notebook, and smartphones push the upper end of cellphone tech. As Öistämö put it, the intention is to invent a whole "new class" of future mobile devices. That makes it sound like Nokia's got its eye on the smartbook-style device that I mentioned recently as being the next big thing in mobile comms. With this announcement it looks even more certain that this might be right—after all, Nokia's devices are in the hands of over one billion consumers.
Interestingly, the company's stress that the collaboration will have open-source ideals at its core, which may be surprising considering how closeted chip designs are often kept. Intel's Chandeseker was keen to note that its open standards that historically "drive innovation." This sounds like the collaboration may actually enable other companies to leverage off any technology that Nokia and Intel jointly develop, and that can only be good from a consumer's point of view. It's also in keeping with the open nature of this new technology collaboration—Nokia will pursue its relationship with ARM, and Intel will license HSPA 3G tech from Nokia to include in its chipsets, which can only mean it'll be able to sell them to other vendors.
Though we won't be seeing concrete products from this deal soon, it's definitely good news for the tech-savvy consumer. Because in the short term it's an incentive for Palm and HTC to push their smartphone tech onwards and upwards, and may even be a prompt for Apple to get its fabled mini tablet PC into reality.