ARM chuckles as Intel reshuffles

Intel is reshuffling its mobile division in what could be a Sisyphean effort to challenge ARM’s dominance in the lucrative marketplace. 

Indeed, the company has created a new business unit known simply as the “netbook and tablet group” – which will be managed by Douglas L. Davis, the current head of Intel’s embedded and communications team.

According to Ashlee Vance of the NY Times, Davis will be charged with the unenviable task of ensuring that the chip giant is capable of “fending off” the competition in the rapidly-evolving mobile sector.

“Netbook shipments will be heading north of 100 million and we’ll all soon will find out what kind of market potential there is for tablets and these increasingly popular hybrid designs,” Intel spokesperson Bill Kircos told Vance.

“[Yes], it [certainly] makes sense for us to sharpen our focus on these friends of the PC, and Doug’s experience running a similar and very successful embedded division makes him the right guy to lead the group.”

Meanwhile, Intel CEO Paul Otellini told Reuters that the company was making steady progress loading its chips into next-gen tablet computers and smartphones.

“The consumer (tablet) products will roll out over the first half of next year,” said Otellini, who confirmed that a number of vendors – including Dell, Asus, Lenovo and Toshiba – have agreed to deploy Intel processors in 35 tablet models.

He added that smartphones with Intel silicon from “premier branded vendors” would begin hitting the crowded markeplace during the second half of 2011.

Still, as Gabelli & Company analyst Hendi Susanto notes, Intel may be moving in the right strategic direction, but obviously “has a long way” to go.

“[Really], they’re late in the game. [And, of course], there is no clear visibility on what the [future] products [actually] look like,” he noted.