Intel Creates New Devices Division To Make Sure They Don’t Underestimate Apple’s Next Big Thing

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One of Intel’s biggest mistakes in the last decade was being blind-sided by the rise of mobile devices. Intel should have seen it coming: Apple asked Intel to make chips for the original iPhone, only to be turned down. Simultaneously, Cupertino was pressuring Intel to get the power-management of their chips under control. It’s not too far-fetched to say that if Intel had been paying attention to all the signals, then today they could be as dominant in mobile chips as they are in PCs and servers.

But Intel under former CEO Paul Otellini turned a blind-eye to mobile until it was too late. It’s a mistake new Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is determined not to repeat, which is why he has created a brand new “New Devices” division within Intel to focus on emerging trends, including “ultra-mobile devices.”

What’s an ultra-mobile device? Think wearable computing, like Google Glass or the iWatch.

Heading up Intel’s New Devices division is Mike Bell, an executive who has been heading up Intel’s (still struggling) mobile chip business, and spearheaded initiatives like getting Android running on x86.

The whole idea of New Devices is a sort of a seismograph to make sure that the next big threat to Intel’s business — a radically shifting tech landscape that comes seemingly out of nowhere — is detected in its earliest stages, and Intel pivots to not just counter, but ride the wave.

“The group will be tasked with turning cool technology and business model innovations into products that shape and lead markets,” Intel said in a statement to AllThingsD.

In the short term, just based on Intel’s statements, it seems obvious that the chipmaker is going to focus on wearable computing, hence their determined focus on “ultra-mobile devices.” If that term confuses you, just think of it this way: what’s more mobile than a smartphone in your pocket? How about a computer you never take off: the iWatch.

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About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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