Intel's LTE System on Chip to be the death of WiMAX

Intel’s CEO, Paul Otellini, hinted in a company call that it will further integrate its acquired Infineon wireless assets into mobile SoCs, including 4G technology.

During last week’s Financial Analyst Call, Otellini stated that Infineon assets will provide it a strong starting position in feature phones, but Infineon baseband tech will spread out across mobile platforms and be fully integrated into what we see one of the future Intel SoCs.

Infineon’s own tech is based on LTE fourth-generation wireless technology, not Intel’s proprietary 802.16, aka, WiMAX.

Intel did not disclose a fixed timeframe for this, but we are sure it won’t come with the next generation of Intel SoCs (Clover Trail), that was actually demoed at CES 2012. More than likely it will be a feature of Silvermont, Intel’s 22nm system-on-a-chip (SoC), slated for sampling early next year.

Putting two and two together, and looking at Intel roadmappery, you can figure this one out.

LTE coverage is increasing rapidly in priority markets like the US and, as we mentioned, Clover Trail silicon was already demoed at CES 2012 with an add-on LTE module.So the design will skip Clover Trail altogether.

At the current 32nm node, Intel would also find it very hard to integrate LTE into the SoC without completely blowing its target power consumption and, by association, battery life. It should be able to do that one node down the line, with its 22nm tri-gate transistors, provided all goes as planned.

While this does not require that Intel keep with the programme, you can add the fact that Intel’s greatest adversary in this race, Nvidia – which happens to have bought baseband IC company Icera – is aiming at early 2013 for a fully integrated LTE SoC for smartphones, dubbed Nvidia Grey (TG4).

Intel will have no real option but to have something to throw back at Nvidia’s partners and split the Windows Phone market down the middle.

TechEye contacted Intel for comment but has not received a reply yet.