Intel hasn't been very fortunate in the smartphone chipset business. Despite dominating the personal computing semiconductor space, the company failed to gain traction in mobile in time and struggled to catch up afterward despite trying to crack the entry code from different angles: wearables, IoT, tablets, phones, and so on. Eventually, Intel sort of threw in the towel and decided to close its Atom business and take its time to regroup and think of other ways to tackle the issue.

Its foundry business seems to be the key. See, aside from offering platforms and architectures for chipsets, Intel also has a small side business, Intel Custom Foundry, which produces chipsets for other chipmakers. And Intel has announced at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco that it will be licensing technology from its rival ARM Holdings Plc, which should boost its outsourced manufacturing business and offer more compelling options for companies looking to use Custom Foundry to build their chipsets, such as LG Electronics.

Thanks to the license, Intel will be able to offer ARM's Artisan physical IP as part of its 10nm design platform, including High Performance and High Density Logic Libraries, Memory Compilers, and POP IP. LG Electronics is one of the first announced customers of this new 10nm design platform and it will use it to produce a "world-class mobile platform." But as Intel is surely hoping, other companies that are now manufacturing chips based on ARM's design platform in Taiwan Semiconductor Manifacturing Co.'s factories could potentially join its Custom Foundry instead.