Intel says it is producing a 3G modem, an essential component for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, smaller than anything else produced in the world.
The modem is about the size of a penny. How much smaller it is than other, similar devices now available is unclear -- and Intel isn't making any direct comparisons.
The real message from Intel is that it is acting aggressively to boost its ability to compete in the IoT world. Unlike the PC and server market, Intel has been running a catch-up strategy for the mobile market during the past several years.
Intel is building off its 2011 acquisition of Infineon Technologies' AG Wireless Solutions business, part of its efforts to become a bigger presence in the mobile wireless space. Infineon 3G chips and baseband processors are used in smartphones and tablets.
The IoT mobile communications market is not like the smartphone market. LTE access or video-sending capability isn't necessarily needed for devices that may transmit small amounts of data.
A 3G-equipped device can be almost anything, including smoke detectors, door locks or blood pressure monitors, which do not need the full performance of LTE, said Jim Nucci, director of product marketing in Intel's Mobile and Communications group.
The modem, launched Tuesday, is officially called the XMM 6255 is using a module made by Swiss firm u-blox. Intel said it will be adding other module makers.