Global Sources
EE Times-India
Stay in touch with EE Times India
EE Times-India > Processors/DSPs

Has Intel's Mobile Chief left the hot seat?

Posted: 06 Apr 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Processors  chips  mobile  notebook  flash 

Silicon Valley woke up Monday morning to a Bloomberg report that Aicha Evans, manager of Intel's wireless group, had left the company.

I have yet to meet Evans who has been in the industry 20 years according to her official Intel bio which is more fleshed out than her Spartan LinkedIn page. As a black female engineering manager who climbed up to be a corporate executive at Intel, she is clearly a highly capable person. From all reports she has been sitting in the extra-hot seat for the last several months of her career, running Intel's troubled wireless business.


Figure 1: Aicha Evans

Intel worked hard for years trying to get a bigger share of the mobile boom beyond notebooks. Its ambitious flops included buying then selling off the StrongARM processor, designing cellphone chips that packed outsize blocks of its flash memory and acquiring Infineon's wireless group which had a significant cellphone modem business.

When Hermann Eul, a former Infineon exec running the wireless group, departed last year, Evans took his hot seat. She went to Mobile World Congress last year and said Intel will lead in 5G modems, a bold and comfortably far off target given the first 5G standards won't be done until late 2018.

So why is she leaving so soon, if she really is leaving? Intel won't comment, Evans is not answering my messages and speculation is all over the map.

The Motley Fool guesses it is because her group won't be able to ship this year a 14nm version of Intel's integrated SoFIA apps processor. I'm not sure her group is responsible for that chip.

Will Strauss, principal of market watcher Forward Concepts, guesses it is because her group failed to get a design win in the iPhone 7. However, Bloomberg reports one Wall Street analyst speculates Intel will get at least some of those high volume, high value sockets.

Of course, outside a few people at Apple and the key vendors no one really knows, and it's early enough that things could still change. In the days when Steve Jobs was running the ship, Apple was known to design a part out simply because a vendor spoke out of turn,

One thing is clear, the smartphone modem business is one tough market. Qualcomm has a 58% share of it because it kicks butt integrating all the latest 3GFPP features and pumping out new designs fast, says Strauss. Its current Release 12 chip supports 600 Mbits/second downloads and it is already talking up its next-gen Rel 13 version at a Gbit/s.

Fast followers Mediatek at 20% and Spreadtrum at 6% are well known for squeezing out costs and winning sockets in up-and-coming OEMs in China. The market is so tough the fourth and fifth place vendors (Marvell at 6% and Broadcom at 3%) dropped out last year. China's comms systems giant Huawei is also a player with its own pretty good LTE modems now being designed by its HiSilicon chip division, says Strauss.

Intel has 1% share in this market, and must spend unknown billions maintaining it. So Evans sat for several months on a very hot seat indeed.

I'd love to hear her story sometime. I bet it's a good one. There are a lot of good stories in Silicon Valley of super smart people trying to accomplish incredibly ambitious feats in complex and fast moving global markets. This is just the one that sped across my computer screen on this particular Monday morning.

-Rick Merrit,
EE Times

Comment on "Has Intel's Mobile Chief left the ho..."
*  You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:


Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.


Go to top             Connect on Facebook      Follow us on Twitter      Follow us on Orkut

Back to Top