Intel moves point to smartphone push

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Intel moves point to smartphone push

Intel appears to be gearing up for a serious push into the smartphone market with the hiring of a handset developer veteran and rumours that it is about to acquire Infineon's wireless communications division.

The chipmaker has already announced plans that will see x86-based smartphones and tablets come to market from partners in the near future. Intel unveiled new Atom processors designed for this purpose back in May, for example.

The firm has now disclosed that it has hired Mike Bell as vice president and director of smartphone product development.

Bell is a former employee of Palm and Apple. He was involved with the development of Palm's Pre and Pixi handsets, and also made a significant contribution to Apple's iPhone program.

Bell's role at Intel is to head up a team developing smartphone reference designs, the firm disclosed.

Meanwhile, speculation has been gathering that Intel is about to acquire the wireless communications division of chip firm Infineon. Such a move has been rumoured for weeks, but reports in the German press now suggest that a deal is imminent.

If true, this would give Intel greater access to wireless chipset technology and significantly bolster its capabilities in this area. It would also make Intel one of the major suppliers of phone chipsets, potentially securing supplies for Intel's handset partners.

Intel declined to confirm or deny whether such an acquisition is on the cards.

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