CES: Intel enters smartphone market



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11 January 2012 | 0

Intel on Tuesday announced its first smartphone customers, signaling the arrival of Intel Inside smartphones after years of struggle by the chip maker.

"Lenovo and Motorola will release smartphones based on Intel’s upcoming Atom chips, code-named Medfield," said Paul Otellini, Intel’s CEO, during his CES keynote address.

A Lenovo K800 smartphone demonstrated on stage during the keynote will be the first with Intel’s x86 chip. The K800 has a 4.5" screen that can display video at 720p resolution, and the smartphone is powered by an Atom Z2460 chip, which runs at 1.6GHz. It will first come to the China market via China Unicom in the second quarter this year. It will be based on the Lenovo LeOS user interface.

Intel also announced a multi-year, multi-product announcement with Motorola which will cover smartphones and tablets. The Motorola phone will be released in the second half of this year, though the company didn’t announce whether it would ship worldwide.




"We will have devices and carrier validation this summer," said Sanjay Jha, CEO of Motorola Mobility, during an appearance at the keynote. The product launches will be shortly after that.

"The Intel smartphone chip will be competitive on power and excel in performance," said Mike Bell, vice president and general manager of Intel’s mobile wireless group, during an interview. "Smartphones with the current Z2460 chip will provide battery life of up to eight hours on a 3G voice call, six hours of high-definition video decode, five hours of 3G browsing, and a standby time of 14 hours.

"The Atom chip Z2460 chip has dense power management to deliver high performance while consuming less power. The chip’s operation will depend on the performance needed; the chip can deliver a burst in performance which could burn more power and hurt battery, but also reduce power consumption when the performance isn’t neededThe capability is particularly useful for tablets, which will also include Medfield chips."

During the keynote Bell showed a reference design of an Atom Z2460 smartphone with a 4" screen and an 8MP camera. The phone can play back high definition video and could include NFC (near-field communications) capabilities. The Intel reference design smartphones outperform current phones on the market in applications like browsing, Javascript and graphics.

While Intel is throwing a lot of financial muscle behind the development of smartphones, the company has seen failures. Intel has tried to enter the TV industry multiple times, and its most recent attempt over the last two years was marred by a lack of interest in its products.

IDG News Service

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