Intel-Nokia alliance: all you need to know

With all that in mind, here's TechRadar's take on the likely shape of things to come from Intel and Nokia:

1. New smartphones

Call them what you will, but the most important devices to spring out of the deal will essentially be smartphones. What's more, they will largely replace Nokia's existing ARM-based smartphone handsets, not supplement them.

2. New form factors

Other form factors and device types will no doubt also emerge from Intel and Nokia's joint loins. Already, rumours are circulating regarding a new Atom-based Nokia netbook. Think mini tablets, smartbooks and the like but with the main emphasis on pocketable gadgets.

3. They'll use off the shelf Intel chips

As for the specific chips involved, it's virtually unprecedented for Intel to produce unique silicon for a single customer. We therefore reckon Nokia will be using essentially off-the-shelf Intel chips, perhaps with unique packaging a la Apple MacBook Air.

4. Nokia vs Apple - both with Intel chips?

In fact, the Apple model is probably a good guide to how the Intel-Nokia relationship will work going forward. The Apple angle also adds spice to the back story. It will certainly be fascinating to see how Intel juggles its relationships with both Apple and Nokia as the two companies compete head on in the smartphone market.

This process will take time, of course, and for now Nokia needs to keep its ARM partners sweet. Hence its reluctance to utter the word "smartphone" in the vicinity of the Intel deal and its supportive words for ARM going forward.

Anyway, given the dearth of details, we suspect the first actual handsets, rather than the aforementioned netbook, could be some way out, probably late 2010 at the earliest and possibly 2011.

5. It'll use next gen Medfield, not Atom chips

If so, that suggests the target silicon will not be the upcoming Moorestown Atom platform, but its successor Medfield. Little is currently know of the latter other than the fact that it's a fully integrated system-on-a-chip design.

All in all, Intel and Nokia's joint announcement raises many more questions than it answers. However, if Intel eventually succeeds in its quest to assimilate the smartphone market, we'll almost definitely look back on yesterday as the crucial turning point.