Intel boss says company’s first baseband supporting mobile SoC will be out by year’s end with an LTE followup shortly thereafter.

bk with sofia Brian Krzanich confirms SoFIA release date and LTE availability at IDF Shenzhen

Intel’s Developer Forum kicked off Wednesday in Shenzhen with CEO Brian Krzanich talking up the importance of his company’s relationship with China and highlighting its mobile efforts.

“The China technology ecosystem will be instrumental in the transformation of computing,” Krzanich said on stage. “To help drive global innovation, Intel will stay focused on delivering leadership products and technologies that not only allow our partners to rapidly innovate, but also deliver on the promise that ‘if it computes, it does it best with Intel’.”

Krzanich also announced the creation of a “Smart Device Innovation Center” in Shenzhen to spur the creation of the next-generation of ultra mobile, wearable, and Internet of Things devices. This will be funded by a new $100 million smart device innovation fund from Intel Capital. It will be an uphill battle to make Intel’s mobile processor offerings competitive against the buffet of available ARM silicon from low-end Allwinner to mid-to-high-end MediaTek SoCs.

But the real meat of the keynote was in Krzanich’s keynote was in the announcement that SoFIA — Intel’s mobile SoC plus baseband — is on schedule for the 3G version and will be followed up by an LTE version next year.

IntelIDFSZ14 4 Brian Krzanich confirms SoFIA release date and LTE availability at IDF Shenzhen

IntelIDFSZ14 5 Brian Krzanich confirms SoFIA release date and LTE availability at IDF Shenzhen

Krzanich said on stage that the XMM 7260 baseband inside the LTE version of SoFIA would be compatible with the bulk of the world’s LTE networks including China’s LTE TDD and LTE FDD networks. To demonstrate this Krzanich made a Skype call to Lenovo’s CEO Yang Yuanqing.

Concluding his keynote Krzanich admitted that Intel might have missed the boat so far on tablets, but it has not given up on the market. Krzanich said it was Intel’s goal to ship 40 million tablets with its chips in 2014, almost four times more than it pushed out in 2013. Intel will be continuing its controversial contra-revenue program to get its silicon in tablets.

IDF continues in Shenzhen until Friday.