Apple’s iPad: trouble for Intel’s mobile push?


By Ian Sherr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – ANALYSIS – When Apple Inc unveiled its iPad last month, one crucial detail almost got drowned out in the hoopla: the new tablet computer will be powered by an in-house chip called the A4.

While Apple likely will not market the chip publicly, analysts say the new processor underscores how rival chip designs may eventually win out over Intel Corp’s designs in the emergent hot category of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

Intel says the first smartphones using its chips go on sale by 2010’s second half, as it tries to stake out a corner in the wireless market and replicate what it did for the formerly red-hot netbook category it now almost completely dominates.

But analysts point to an uphill battle against Nvidia Corp, Marvell and Qualcomm Inc, already making headway with cheaper, low-power processors based on designs by ARM Holdings PLC.

“They (Intel) don’t have a track record in delivering these types of chips,” said Wedbush Morgan analyst Patrick Wang. “They haven’t been successful in the past, and they’re trying to get in.”

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