The man who led Intel’s Centrino development and brought us the Atom chip has resigned, Intel said today.

In a brief announcement, the company said that Anand Chandresekher, general manager of Intel’s Ultra Mobile Group (UMG) will be leaving the company to persue other interests.

His place will be taken by two vice-presidents of Intel’s Architecture Group (IAG), Mike Bell and Dave Whalen.

David Perlmutter, executive vice president and Intel Architecture Group general manager, said the company remains committed to its mobile business, stating that it plans to see an Intel-based smartphone released this year, although he did not specify which chip it would be running.

Intel made big strides in performance and battery life on notebooks with it released its first Centrino-class processor in 2004. It also took over the majority of the netbook market in 2008 when the first of its ultra-low-power Atom processors rolled off the production line.

However, in recent times, the company has struggled to compete in the growing smartphone and tablet market as ARM-based processors from Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments have all but dominated sales. As smartphones and tablets develop in their abilities, netbooks will likely be the first casualties in the mobile computing war as consumers are able to achieve much the same functionality is a smaller package.

The company did not give a time frame or brand of its upcoming smartphone.

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