Intel has another look at Android

Intel appears to be making an underlying strategy shift involving the operating systems of tablets.

For a while now Intel’s cunning plan looked like it was based entirely on propping up its old chum Microsoft’s Windows 8, with only a token interest in Android for tablets. Meanwhile it had been looking at Android for mobile devices.

At Mobile World Congress, observers noticed a new device from Asustek which seems to suggest a move away from Microsoft.

It seems that Chipzilla’s message to the assorted throngs at MWC is that Intel is gearing up efforts to supply companies that want to use its Atom chips in tablets running Android as well as Windows powered devices.

The Wall Street Journal was told by an Intel spokesperson that it was accelerating its focus on Android.

The reason for this appears to be that hardware makers are waking up to the fact that Windows 8 does not seem to be driving any tablet demand at all.

Asustek has supported Windows 8 with products that include the VivoTab Smart, powered by an Intel Atom chip. But it has also developed Android-powered devices, including the Nexus 7, which runs on an Nvidia chip that uses ARM technology.

The company is now widely expected to introduce the Fonepad, a seven-inch combination tablet and phone that uses Android running on a new Intel Atom chip.

What observers are thinking is that if a Windows 8 champion, like Asustek, shifts to Android using an Intel chip, there must be a cunning plan from Chipzilla to shift to Android for tablets rather than Windows 8.

If this is true, then the move has probably been sparked by manufactures becoming cross with Microsoft for releasing its Surface tablet. While this tablet used Intel chips, it has not done very well and is not sustainable enough to interest Chipzilla. However, if it can convince the huge number of Android tablet makers that they would be better off with Intel inside they will be targeting a much larger market.

It is a bit of a stretch of the imagination. If that were to happen it would amount to Intel writing off Microsoft in the one market that its Windows 8 software was designed for, and in tablets it is fairly likely that Vole will eventually get some acceptance.