Lenovo and Motorola to produce Intel phones

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This year’s Consumer Electronics Show has seen another big announcement from Intel.

First of all, the main news was the big Ultrabook push, but now Intel has also revealed its strategy for getting back into the mobile market, which is currently totally dominated by Arm. Both Lenovo and Motorola have partnered up with Intel to produce Android smartphones, and indeed tablets, based on the chip manufacturer’s new “Medfield” Atom processors.
These mobile CPUs offer low power requirements and efficiency levels to rival Arm, Intel claims, and several smartphones loaded with the new processors will hit the market this year. Intel has signed a multi-year and multiple device partnership with Motorola, and Lenovo is set to roll out a new handset based on Medfield in China come the second quarter of this year.
The Lenovo K800 will have the Intel Atom Z2460 processor running at 1.6GHz on board, with a 4 inch LCD high-res display. Twin cameras are promised, one of them an 8 megapixel snapper with a burst mode that captures 15 images per second. The OS will be Ice Cream Sandwich, naturally.
Motorola’s first Atom-powered Android handsets will ship in the second half of 2012. Sanjay Jha, Chairman and CEO of Motorola Mobility, commented: “We are delighted to be partnering with Intel to deliver smartphones and tablets based on Intel’s Atom processor to consumers and businesses.”
“Though there are 5 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.”
As well as the attention for Android, Intel Atom tablets were also shown running Windows 8 at CES. Whether Intel is too late in properly arriving at the mobile CPU party, we shall have to see. We guess it will really depend on how Medfield performs in these real world handsets (and slates) in terms of speed and battery life, which we won’t find out until later this year.
The company certainly needs to carve out some turf in the mobile territory, however, given the cannibalisation of the PC market by tablets, and the massive rise in smartphone ownership in general.