by Anton Shilov
04/27/2012 | 04:50 PM
After attempts to make it into mass smartphones that have lasted for ten years, Intel is finally inside several devices that are about to hit the market. While only time will tell whether the first breed of Intel Atom-based smartphones will be a success, Intel itself claims that it entered the market of mobile phones very seriously and for the win.
"Intel does not go into markets to be a small player. It is a billion-unit market, so there is a huge opportunity for us," said Stacy Smith, chief financial officer of Intel, in an interview with Bloomberg news-agency.
Starting from the Q2 2012 several companies, including Lava (which is already selling its devices), Orange and ZTE, in addition to Motorola Mobility and Lenovo, plan to release their x86 smartphones based on Intel Atom Z2460 platform in different parts of the world. The first three companies intend to use Intel's reference design and add their proprietary features to them in a bid to differentiate themselves from others, whereas Lenovo and Motorola/Google have their own developments based on Intel Atom system-on-chip with their own set of capabilities.
“As of a week ago, we had zero share. As of this week, it is zero-point-something, because the first phones are selling,” said Mr. Smith.
At present, Intel only sells application processors for smartphones, which means that its clients have to use third-party baseband processors to enable network connection. In the future, Intel will integrate its baseband capabilities into its system-on-chips for smartphones, which will not only allow it to target mainstream smartphones, but will put it directly against powerful ARM partners, such as Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Nvidia (which is supposed to release its WWAN-enabled Tegra in early 2013). Will Intel's chips be competitive? Only time will tell.
Intel smartphone reference design is based on Atom Z2460 system-on-chip (Atom core at 1.60GHz, PowerVR-based graphics core with OpenGL ES 2.0, OpenGL 2.1, OpenVG 1.1 support clocked at 400MHz with hardware accelerated high-definition 1080p video playback, 32-bit LPDDR2 memory controller and so on) supporting HSPA+ with the Intel XMM 6260 communication processor. The reference design smartphones have 4.03" screens, 8MP cameras and use Google Android 4.0 operating system.