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Intel agrees to make ARM-based chips, but not for your mobile device

Is Intel about to jump into bed with the competition, and admit defeat regarding its attempts to trump ARM-based mobile processors? At first glance, a story published by Forbes would have us believe that, as it states processor manufacturer Altera will be using Intel’s foundries to make ARM-based 64-bit processors next year.

ARM’s chips – used by industry powerhouses Qualcomm, Nvidia, MediaTek and many others – rule the mobile world, while Intel struggles to make an impact with its own Atom processors. Is this an admission its Atom chips have failed, and that the only way to gain a foothold is to sleep with the enemy? No, it doesn’t appear so. While analysts speaking to Forbes say the combination of the ARMv8 64-bit chip built on Intel’s cutting edge fabrication would be, “A duo that will be hard to beat,” it doesn’t look like it’ll be coming to a phone or tablet near you.

Sources speaking to PC Perspective say Altera, a name we didn’t recognize in the first place, won’t be making these chips for the consumer market. Instead, the company focuses on industry, including communications, medical, and the military. This means it won’t be competing for business at the same firms which Intel may be trying to secure as Atom customers.

So, it doesn’t look like Intel’s ready to give up on Atom and embrace ARM just yet. However, what it does mean is Intel’s happy to let other companies use its super high-tech foundries to build ARM chips. Intel’s relatively new to this, but by letting established partners – Altera being one – come and play with its cool toys (for the right price, of course), it could be the first step to Intel opening up the foundries to direct competitors.

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