Published in PC Hardware

Intel is quietly working with Chinese tablet vendors

by on30 July 2014

Cheap chips and lots of assistance

Intel has been pursuing tablet design wins on the Chinese mainland for months with little to show for it.

It all part of the chipmakers tablet strategy which basically revolves around Asia. Intel is going after the soft underbelly of the ARM alliance - MediaTek, Allwinner and Rockchip. 

The company announced a partnership with Rockchip earlier this year, but the partnership is centred on SoFIA SoCs. According to Want China Times, Intel is still engaged in a price war with Rockchip in the tablet space.

$5 Intel tablet parts

Intel is reportedly selling its tablet chips for less than $5, or one sixth of the official list price. However, at $5 the chips can compete with offerings from Rockchip and Allwinner. They are cheaper than tablet chips offered by Qualcomm, MediaTek and Nvidia.

Intel's prime targets appear to be MediaTek and its SoFIA partner Rockchip. Both outfits have a strong foothold in China and so does Allwinner, which specialises in even cheaper chips for sub-$100 tablets. This is not a market segment typically associated with Intel. White-box tablets are a high volume, low margin affair. Intel likes things the other way around, but it is still burning a lot of money to seize a chunk of this market.

Fancy some help with your tablet design?

In addition to contra-revenue pricing, Intel has also set up shop in Shenzen. Intel's Smart Device Innovation Centre is based in the booming Chinese city and it is eager to lend a helping hand to local vendors.

Intel is good at designing and manufacturing chips, but it is just as good at promoting and selling its platforms. It offers Chinese manufacturers technical assistance, which means Intel engineers can lend a helping hand to potential clients and help them design Intel-based tablets.

In addition to technical assistance, Intel is helping tablet makers explore the market. The chipmaker excels at marketing, which can't be said of most white-box tablet outfits.

Intel is basically offering a comprehensive service in addition to cheap chips. The competition simply does not have the resources and know-how to offer a similar one-stop service.

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