Intel BuildingIntel is not to be counted out of the smartphone battle yet, as its chips are headed to 35 tablets (including some already available) and “premier” smartphone vendors in 2011, Reuters reports based on comments from the company’s CEO Paul Otelinni.

The news follows on the heels of our report yesterday regarding Intel’s new tablet and netbook unit — the creation of which we found suspiciously quiet. Otellini says the tablets, including those from Dell, Asus, Lenovo and Toshiba, will roll out of the first half of 2011. Smartphones running Intel’s Medfield chip will land in the second half of next year.

Intel’s pursuit of smartphones is “a marathon, not a sprint”, Otelinni said. The company isn’t slowing down after the release of the first Medfield chip. Otellini added that Intel’s second-generation Medfield chip for smartphones is already being tested by customers and is expected to ship towards the end of 2011 and early 2012.

I suppose a marathon is a good analogy for Intel’s strategy — except Intel’s competitors already have several years ahead of the company in this particular race. What good is positioning its strategy as a marathon, when it’s clear the company was just running in place as its competitors passed it by?