updated 04:55 pm EDT, Mon March 21, 2011
Intel ultramobile lead Chandrasekher quits
Intel in a surprise update said Monday that its Ultra Mobility Group lead Anand Chandrasekher was leaving the company. It would say only that he was leaving to "pursue other interests" after a 24-year career at the chip designer. Two vice presidents from the Intel Architecture Group, Mike Bell and Dave Whalen, would jointly take Chandrasekher's place effective immediately.
The company hinted that the sudden exit may have been involuntary and a part of design strategy. "We continue make the investments needed to ensure that the best user experience on smartphones and handhelds runs on Intel Architecture, and to ship a phone this year," IAG head David Perlmutter said.
A possible forced exit may have come as part of Intel's broader push to take mobile seriously and its general dissatisfaction with a lack of progress. Intel has repeatedly promised that it was close to having an Atom chip small and miserly enough to work in smartphones, but it may only now be getting close with the promise of its Medfield platform. ARM has essentially swept Intel aside by offering smaller, more efficient designs that can at times outrun an Atom chip, making an iPad 2 or a Xoom subjectively more powerful.
Nokia also dealt Intel a blow by relegating the jointly developed MeeGo OS to an experimental project rather than the centerpiece Intel wanted it to be.
Among the additional fixes so far have been takeovers of mobile chip suppliers that would help optimize the Atom for mobile. Intel bought Infineon last summer for cellular hardware and just this month acquired Silicon Hive for mobile media processing.