Intel lucks out on Acer phone

Acer will be launching a 4G handset in Taiwan in the next quarter, but it will not be touching Intel’s offerings with a ten-foot barge pole.

Instead Acer will be using chips from MediaTek and Qualcomm despite the fact that the hardware maker has been using Intel for its Liquid smartphones for emerging markets in Asia. This will be a blow for Intel. Taiwan is rolling out its LTE network and Acer would have helped it shift a fair number of chips.

Acer had not said why it has not chosen to further its partnership with the chip giant, while its rival Asus has chosen to launch its range of Intel-powered smartphones, the ZenFone series, in Asia.

It might have something to do with the fact that Intel’s Merrifield Atom chip will support LTE, but this is using a separate LTE radio instead of being integrated into a single package like Qualcomm’s offerings.

Intel has been slow at coming out with an integrated chip and this is not expected until the end of 2014. Word on the street is that Acer is still chums with Intel, it just not want to show up at a Taiwan market with phone which is heavier than the rest.

Intel is still playing catch up in the mobile market and last week’s quarterly results showed that it is paying the price. In the most recent quarter, Intel’s Mobile and Communications group lost a staggering $929 million and shipped only five million tablet units during the quarter. This is mostly being spent on R&D as a result of the company’s push into mobile. One of the reasons Intel lost money was because its 2G/3G modems saw a steep fall-off as shipments of LTE-enabled smartphones, powered by Qualcomm increased.

In other words, Intel’s lack of an LTE modem to pair with its applications processor solution during 2013 was disastrous and now even its best mates have to look elsewhere.