As Intel prepares to catch up with its competitors, the company is seizing on the high expectations for the low-end smartphone market, which should offer the chipmaker a golden opportunity. Figures from IHS show that from 2012 to 2016, the market will double with shipments moving from 206 million in 2012 to 559 million in 2016. In fact, according to IHS, shipments of low-end smartphones will rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 51 percent from 2011 to 2016. That's faster than high-end smartphone shipments, which will grow at a CAGR of only 12 percent during the same period.
The strong demand for low-end smartphones is mainly from China and other Asia-Pacific countries, as well as Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. To get its chips into low-end smartphones, Intel introduced, at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, an Atom processor platform designed to target this market in emerging economies. Francis Sideco, senior principal analyst for wireless communications at IHS, called this a "shrewd strategy" that just might help Intel increase its chip business in this market segment.
In the meantime, Intel declares that it continues to make progress with its acquisition of Infineon Technologies AG Wireless Solutions business and is preparing to launch its first Long-Term Evolution (LTE) solution to support 4G wireless technology -- another important milestone for Intel as it seeks to make inroads into the US smartphone market.
The consensus is that the benefit to be derived from an LTE solution is substantial. According to IHS, three years after its original deployment, projections are that there will be 100 million subscribers to LTE this year.