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Intel's MIPI invite arrives in mail

Still considering whether to RSVP

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Intel is thinking about joining the Mobile Industry Processor Interface (MIPI) alliance after all, the company has said.

A spokesman for the chip giant told Silicon Strategies that it had been invited to join Texas Instruments, Nokia, ARM and STMicro, and that it was currently "evaluating" the invitation.

The implication is that if Intel can find something to wear, and book a sitter for the kids, it will come along to the party. In the commercial world, the equivalent of such parental preparations centre on an investigation of the "technical and legal aspects" of the deal, according to the spokesman.

As for working with competitors, no problem, the spokesman said, provided that the alliance's work to standardise hardware specifications and software APIs is done fairly and in the open.

That's certainly the idea - how it will work in practice remains to be seen. TI and Intel do, of course, compete in the ARM arena, with their OMAP and XScale processors, respectively. But while OMAP has been targeted at the smartphone market, with some success, Intel has pitched XScale as the PDA processor of choice. Some companies, like Palm, for instance, use chips from both manufacturers.

If MIPI follows the ARM model - offering a platform that ensures device compatibility, but still allows vendors to compete and differentiate their products - there's little reason why Intel wouldn't join. After all, it has already bought into that model by offering XScale. "We are a strong supported of open industry specifications," the spokesman said. ®

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