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Why Intel's Processors Aren't Big on Cellphones

Under the hood of most netbooks lies a tiny Intel Atom chip. Intel's low-power processor has fast become the silicon of choice for tiny computers - but not cellphone makers. Until last week's Nokia-Intel partnership, most handset makers showed almost no interest in the world's biggest maker of PC processors.

Meanwhile, Intel rival ARM, whose chips are packaged and sold through companies such as Qualcomm, Samsung and Texas Instruments, has gained nearly 90 percent of the cellphone processor market.

"Traditionally cellphones have been designed on the ARM processor and it is not easy to change it," says Jack Gold, principal analyst with consulting firm J. Gold Associates. "And cellphone makers don't want to. ARM-based chips have a significant advantage over the current generation Atom processors for quite a few reasons."

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