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Intel cancels SoFIA, Broxton

Don Dingee

Ouch! Mentioned at the tail of another thread, but I thought I'd elevate the discussion. This puts an end to my speculation that Intel would eventually team up with Microsoft to release a Windows 10 Mobile phone. The lack of anything from them at MWC and the departure of Aicha Evans are now a lot clearer.

Intel's Changing Future: Smartphone SoCs Broxton & SoFIA Officially Cancelled

A few interesting points in that article.

-- What that means for Intel's relationship with RockChip and Spreadtrum is unclear.

-- Intel's five go-forward strategy points: Cloud, the Client business, Memory and FPGAs, R&D through Moore’s Law, and 5G Connectivity.

-- Intel is still definitely in the modem biz and hiring Qualcomm types to drive it.
Shouldn't this thread be titled Intel "Quits Mobile"?

Intel Quits Mobile

byPaul McLellan
Published on 11-18-2014 03:00 PM

And do you really think Intel is going to have better luck in the merchant modem market? Intel really is behaving like Google with all of their moonshot programs. The difference being Google is in a leadership position and more honest about their failures.
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How big of a market is stand-alone connectivity? Everyone but Apple has an integrated modem, and Apple's marketshare is shrinking.

It's hard to see Intel getting any share in connectivity if they can't do an SoC.
When I worked at Intel they had a core value, "Promote from within", however we can see this value being retired.

When I worked at Intel they had a core value of NIH (not invented here) which made it extremely hard to get access to commercial tools and IP that would have made us more competitive because it was "the Intel way".

It really was a good laugh to see that Contra Revenue was the new "Intel way"! ;)
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Intel problems are laid bare by mobile mistakes: Time to market (slow); margin requirement (high); innovation (low); x86 ecosystem health (declining). That's the downside. The upside: All of these are 100% under INTC control. Second, INTC doesn't need mobile; it needs speed, lower margin requirements, innovation and a growing x86 ecosystem.

Speed: Separate manufacturing and design into separate businesses. Intel Design would be able to use outside foundries to lower costs and hit ship dates. And Intel Manufacturing would be a better partner for foundry customers.
Margin requirements: Focus margin requirements on new designs. Allow margins to fall as designs age.
Innovation: Intel has the best people, but they are not producing nearly as many patents as they should be. This is partly cultural--"brag sheets" should become patent applications.
x86: Everything else in tech has evolved over the years but not x86. ARM arch is only slightly better in this regard. I think Nvidia invented a better mousetrap that no one is using (ARM compatible arch); Intel should put aside NIH and license it.
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QCOM's new modem:

Qualcomm’s New X16 LTE Modem Delivers Gigabit LTE And A Scalable Architecture

Today at their investor conference, they announced their latest and greatest LTE modem capable of gigabit-class speeds, specifically 1 Gbps, which translates to “Category (Cat.) 16” LTE according to the 3GPP standards...

Intel seems to be a generation or two behind. Intel will also be a process generation behind when QCOM starts shipping 10nm modems in 1H 2017.

I'm sure Intel will get some modem business but I highly doubt it will "move the mighty Intel needle". Just my opinion of course.
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Intel isn't the first company to retreat from the smartphone market. It happened to Nvidia and they had to write down their Icera modem assets. I can see a similiar thing happening for Intel's modem as it no longer serves any strategic purpose.