ARM is the dominant architecture in the mobile landscape - if you have a smartphone, it’s running on an ARM-based chip, but in the last couple of years chip giant Intel has been trying desperately to enter the mobile market. And this year, it’s finally done it. Intel has signed partnerships with various companies for its upcoming phones running on its Medfield platform (the Atom Z2460 chip), and has announced its roadmap for the future including dual-core processors as well.
We got our hands on three of the first Intel Atom-powered devices at MWC 2012 and here are our initial impressions.
We saw the Lenovo K800 back at CES 2012 - it’s the first handset to arrive with Intel silicon. It’s at MWC as well.
The handset is not the thinnest phone out there, but it’s not terribly thick either. It’s got a huge 4.5-inch 720p display that does add a bit to the feeling of bulkiness.
The K800 is said to arrive with ICS at launch and it will be skinned with Lenovo’s own UI-enhancing attempts. It packs the Intel Atom Z2460 processor clocked at 1.6GHz, an 8-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash and HSPA+ supporting 21Mbps down speeds. It’s the only handset that differs significantly from the rest as Lenovo has obviously put some effort in designing it - it’s angular, weird and catches the eye which is a good thing.
The Orange Santa Clara on the other hand doesn’t differ much from Intel’s platform reference design, but it’s a very important handset as it’s the first with Intel’s Medfield chip to try and conquer the European market. It runs on Gingerbread, has a 4-inch WVGA screen and an 8-megapixel camera. Now, the biggest promise of the Santa Clara is better battery life - something we are all eagerly awaiting. Not just because of the obvious advantage, but mostly because we haven’t seen a real proof about it yet.
The Lava Xolo X900 targets the Indian market and it’s virtually identical to Intel’s reference platform for the Medfield chip. You might have not heard about Lava, and that’s because it’s a regional Indian phone maker. The company hasn’t done much in order to differentiate designwise, and while that won’t lure customers, what will is the stock software.
On the Xolo X900 you have a 1.6GHz single-core processor running what looks like almost stock Gingerbread on a 4-inch screen with a 600x1024 pixels. Now, we should note that the Intel chip manages to run Android smoothly even at single-core which alone is a good achievement.
The camera is another highlight of the Xolo X900 - there’s an 8-megapixel single LED snapper on the back and it comes with some neat tweaks - you can quickly shoot 10 times at 15fps. On the front, there’s a 3-megapixel camera. You won't be able to get this one stateside though, it's currently only planned to land in India in Q2 2012.