Intel Offers Silicon With New Packages, Deals

Most personal computer makers buy chips the way Intel wants to offer them. But the technology giant has learned it needs to be more flexible in other markets, as an unusual arrangement with another Silicon Valley company shows.

Intel on Monday detailed plans to begin offering a version of its Atom microprocessor–best known as the calculating engine inside millions of low-end portables called netbooks–that the company is packaging along with a different sort of a chip supplied by Altera. The combination is designed for what industry executives call “embedded” applications, a loose term that refers to office equipment, cars, medical devices, industrial machines and just about anything that is not a computer.

Companies designing such products are a key focus for Intel as it tries to diversify beyond PCs. They often need special circuitry to handle chores that aren’t easily carried out by general-purpose microprocessors, like Atom.

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