New Intel China Boss Talks Mobile, Medfield, in Live Chat on Weibo

Tech in Asia

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Intel China Sean Maloney

Intel’s (NASDAQ:INTC - News) new China chairman, Sean Maloney (pictured right), took to a live chat with Chinese netizens yesterday to explain how the company is focusing on the “incredible” growth in China, and how it’s developing mobile-oriented and lower-powered processors to power Android and Windows 8 mobile devices. Sean emphasised: “Our strategy in China now is to win with smartphones and tablets.”

Speaking via an interpreter, the new Intel China chief also spoke of his recent move to Beijing, his recovery from serious illness, and joked that his kids are learning Chinese a lot quicker than him. Anyone on Weibo could submit questions, and they elicited some straight-forward answers from Sean. When asked about Intel’s new push into mobile processors, he outlined the US company’s competitive advantages:

The smartphone and tablet growth is stunning. However, there are fewer and fewer companies in the industry can continue to deliver Moore’s Law in a sustainable business model. Intel is on top of the list.

Intel’s first partner for its new Medfield chip is China’s Lenovo (HKG:0992.HK - News), which will launch the K800 Android smartphone and IdeaPad K2110 tablet (pictured below) later this summer. Medfield is a lower-powered, Atom-based processor. Sean explained to netizens:

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Latest Intel mobile CPU sets remarkable industry benchmarks, like power-consumption, browsing and Java performance. Power consumption we had got down a really low level, we will get the power down even more in next generation.

During the Weibo chat, Sean also referenced other new chips on the horizon for Intel, with an emphasis on getting tinier:

Next year we will do 22nm [nanometers; Intel’s Ivy Bridge already is 22nm], and we will do 14nm soon after. We are passionate about doing the smallest products that are available. We also have a large team of software engineers on Android […] Smartphone and tablet growth has been amazing, driven by video, SNS, gaming. This requires strong processing power and this is where Intel’s silicon strengths come into play.

A question from a blog dedicated to Windows Phone prompted Sean to say that Intel’s “only focus in smartphone is Android,” thereby ruling out a Medfield-powered WP7 or WP8 phone in the near future. On tablets the upcoming chip will be put to work for both Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows 8.

Intel’s Sean also repeatedly mentioned notebooks and ultrabooks, and how they cannot be ignored or sidelined:

Remember, Notebooks are still growing well. Not many people choose a notebook because of service provider’s offerings. I believe that the notebooks and the tablets are very complementary.

And added:

I’m really optimistic about the potential of the ultrabook. It is not just another product. In the future, ultrabooks will become the majority of all [notebooks]. It is not meant to be high-end only. It will come down over time.

Sean will be back in action tomorrow and Thursday at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing.

The chat session is archived on this Weibo Talk page; or follow Sean Maloney on Weibo.

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