Intel and Nokia Announce Broad Mobile Partnership

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Chipmaking giant Intel and Finland’s Nokia—still the world’s largest mobile handset maker—have announced a broad new strategic partnership aimed at developing Intel-based mobile computing devices and platforms, all built around always-available mobile broadband connectivity and Internet access. The effort will see the companies collaborate on the open source Moblin and Maemo platforms, as well as open source efforts like Mozilla, X.Org, BlueZ, PulseAudio, and oFono. Intel will also license Nokia’s HSPA/3G modem technologies so their capabilities can be integrated right into future mobile device chipsets.

“Today’s announcement represents a significant commitment to work together on the future of mobile computing, and we plan to turn our joint research into action,” said Nokia’s executive VP for devices Kai Oeistaemoe, in a statement. “We will explore new ideas in designs, materials, and displays that will go far beyond devices and services on the market today. This collaboration will be compelling not only for our companies, but also for our industries, our partners and, of course, for consumers.”

The companies stopped short of announcing any specific product plans, although the alliance is squarely centered on so-called MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices) that offer a broad range of Internet-based services and connectivity without the bulk of a netbook or notebook computer, although there’s no reason the couldn’t branch out to in-vehicle systems, nettops, or netbook computers.

Devices developed from this alliance will apparently be based on Moblin and Maemo, rather than the Symbian operating system which Nokia has recently gone to great effort to spin out into its own open source effort—although Nokia’s N810 Internet Tablet already runs Maemo. Intel and Nokia plan to focus on developing common technologies for both Moblin and Maemo in order to foster third-party application development for the platforms and devices using them.

Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed, and the companies did not reveal when they believe the first products sprouting from this alliance might reach consumers. But one thing is clear: Intel wants to have a larger footprint in the mobile arena, and it’s not afraid to partner with major mobile companies to get there.