The Three Mobileteers – Lots Of Swash But Will Competitors Buckle?

Intel continues to lick its corporate lips over the mobile phone market and the technical challenges and potential sales this sector promises and often delivers.

It's no secret that the giant computer chip maker has been seeking a toehold in the lucrative mobile market and it now looks like it has found one in the form of Nokia and Symbian, the UK software group in which Nokia is a major shareholder and the producers of the most widely used mobile phone software.

This marriage of technology could have come at a very convenient time for all partners.

Nokia has not been having such a great trading time during the past year. Once the fashion must-have for young teens who wanted personalised phone covers, the Finnish phone maker misjudged the market acceptance and product advantages of oyster flip phones with their inherent space for clear keypads and larger screens; the latter being essential stuff when it comes to making the most of camera phones.

This was not the case for Motorola, which also used to be a shareholder of Symbian before being lured away by Microsoft. It did not miss the oyster trick with the consequence it fought back from a previously dismal market share.

But let's move on. What's really behind the buddying-up of Intel, Nokia and Symbian? Exactly what will the three mobileteers bring to the global phone market?

Smartphones is the answer to that. The three want to collaborate on the design and development of more advanced handsets and have some interesting strategies that may well put the frighteners on competitors.

Part of the plan is for Intel to develop chips for use with Nokia's series 60 platform. This is what provides users of Smartphones with an interface. One particularly clever move by the Finnish phone maker is that it has spread this bit of technology about. Series 60 is licensed out to other mobile companies like Panasonic, Sendo and Samsung and by doing this it has avoided the financial pitfall of painting itself into an exclusive technology corner.

Symbian is also likely to do well out of this technology marriage. Intel plans to open its not inconsiderable corporate wallet and invest in the development with Symbian of reference designs for ICs and software that will find their application in 3G mobiles — a market sector that is predicted to boom by 2008.

Another really attractive element to this whole deal is the strategic openness regarding the technology that the three mobileteers will develop. Not for them the erroneous comfort of splendid market isolation. The aim here is to provide ready-made Smartphone platforms for whichever handset makers want to purchase it with the subsequent savings on development costs and time-to-market being the irresistible inducement.

Add to all of this Intel's stroke of marketing genius a few years ago with its Intel Inside campaign that demonstrated its ability to charm consumers, and this could prove to be a very powerful and profitable alliance indeed.

Maybe Nokia can leave those oysters on ice for a while.

TAGS: Intel
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