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Intel shows new Atom-Android phones

Strategic partnership with Motorola Mobility announced, phones based on new Medfield Atom from Lenovo on show

(l) Sanjay Jha of Motorola and Paul Otellini of Intel announce the strategic partnership between the two companies.
(l) Sanjay Jha of Motorola and Paul Otellini of Intel announce the strategic partnership between the two companies.
Liu Jun of Lenovo shows of the new K800 Intel/Android smartphone.
Liu Jun of Lenovo shows of the new K800 Intel/Android smartphone.
Intel's Medfield smartphone reference design.
Intel's Medfield smartphone reference design.

Intel has announced that Lenovo and Motorola will both release mobile phones based on the latest addition to its Atom processor range.

Speaking at CES, Paul Otellini, CEO and president of Intel said that both companies would bring phones based on the Atom processor Z2460 platform, codenamed ‘Medfield', to market in 2012. A new partnership with Motorola was also announced.

The new platform has been designed specifically for mobile phones and tablet devices, with a focus on high performance and energy efficiency.

In his keynote address, Otellini said: "The best of Intel computing is coming to smartphones. Our efforts with Lenovo and Motorola Mobility will help to establish Intel processors in smartphones and provide a solid foundation from which to build in 2012 and into the future."

Motorola chairman and CEO Sanjay Jha, joined Otellini onstage to discuss a new multi-year, multi-device strategic relationship between the two companies to develop smartphones and tablets. Although no new devices were on show, Motorola expects to have its first Intel/Android based phone shipping by the second half of the year.

"We are delighted to be partnering with Intel to deliver smartphones and tablets based on Intel's Atom processor to consumers and businesses," said Jha. "Though there are five billion mobile subscribers in the world, less than 800 million are using a smartphone today. With Android as the leading smartphone OS globally and advancements in computing technology we see tremendous opportunity for the converged devices market."

The relationship may mean much closer ties between Intel and Google, the developer of the Android OS, which is also in the process of buying Motorola Mobility, but not all analysts were convinced that Motorola has the presence in international markets to make a significant impact for Intel.

Nick Dillon, analyst with Ovum, said that while it is important for Intel to forge new relationships in the mobile space, particularly with Microsoft favouring ARM over Intel processors, a partnership with Motorola might not be enough, particularly given the unclear relationship going forwards between Google and Motorola.

"Intel have been trying to get into the mobile business for sometime, but they haven't been able to crack it. At the same time, it is critical for their long term survival. If they had struck a deal with Samsung, someone at the top of the Android world, it would be a game changer, but Motorola are vey much a second or third tier Android player," Dillon told ITP.net.

Liu Jun, Lenovo senior vice president and president of Mobile Internet and Digital Home, presented the Lenovo K800 smartphone, which uses the new Atom processor and runs on Android.

Intel also unveiled a Smartphone Reference Design mobile that is intended to speed up development time and costs. The fully functioning smartphone features sleek packaging, a 4.03-inch high-resolution LCD touch screen, and two cameras delivering advanced imaging capabilities, including burst mode that allows individuals to capture 15 pictures in less than a second with 8-megapixel quality.