Thursday, August 25, 2005

Intel & RIM: Yes or No?

The rumor mill is buzzing about a possible technology agreement in the works between Intel and Reasearch in Motion (RIM). As eWeek reports, Intel will agree to use RIM's battery-saving technology while RIM supports Intel's promotion of WiMax wireless broadband technology.

According to Ken Dulaney at Gartner, ""Intel and ADI [Analog Devices Inc.] jointly worked on [power management] technology that is in today's BlackBerrys. While that technology is in the ADI chip used in today's Blackberrys, Intel was waiting for the Hermone chip to incorporate it. I suspect that this is what all the fuss is about. The technology was inspired by RIM, so I suspect that RIM may receive some type of compensation for it, but that would be difficult to find out."

However, TechNewsWorld is reporting that although the rumored deal makes sense in many ways, it just might be vapor. The article cites a report from Peter Misek and Dushan Batrovic at Canaccord Capital who wrote, "Our checks originally lead us to believe that Intel was encountering considerable difficulty in developing a battery, bandwidth and heat-efficient Centrino dual core chipset. We have heard that RIM's combined solution would improve battery life three-fold and significantly reduce the Centrino's bandwidth and heat generation."

"We believe this partnership would make sense for Intel, additionally because the company is expected to be looking beyond laptops and PCs towards the cell phone, which represents an 800 million-unit per year opportunity," they added.

According to Ellen Daley at Forrester, the deal makes sense for RIM too. "This agreement is built around RIM using Intel chips because of their really good battery-saving capabilities. Then Intel and RIM working together to help promote wireless and Intel borrowing some of RIM's really efficient spectrum signal coding."

However, Daley squashes any idea of a WiMax-enabled Blackberry. "If you're a mobile professional, the implications of an Intel-RIM deal would be a pretty long ways off. RIM's hardware is a mobile device; you use it on the move. Where WiMax is maturing as an industry is in fixed WiMax. That's where the deployments are being rolled out," she said.

"It's really mobile WiMax -- 802.16e -- which won't be available until 2007 that will truly have an impact on devices that are mobile," Daley maintained.