Intel, understandably, has been feeling rather left out of the mobile game over recent years with ARM-based processors powering all the major smartphones from the iPhone to the Galaxy Nexus, and all major tablets from the iPad to the Transformer Prime. As ARM doesn’t manufacture the chips itself, but rather licenses its designs to companies like Qualcomm, nVidia, and Samsung – which has resulted in extremely rapid progress in this field over the last few years as the phone in people’s pockets are now being used as mini computers rather than phones 90% of the time. But aren’t computers Intel’s realm?
ARM chips have been popular for a variety of reasons – from the competition and progress, to their power-sipping nature. When people think of Intel-based computers, they think of their laptops which they need to plug in every couple of hours – not very useful with a phone. Intel has, however, been making major strides in power efficiency – and with both Android and the upcoming Windows 8 mobile platforms supporting both ARM and Intel chips – things are about to get very competitive indeed.
The first smartphone to come packing an Intel processor is the Lava Xolo X900 which will launch on 23rd April offering a 1.6GHz single-core Atom processor, with a dedicated 400MHz graphics core, 1GB of RAM, 16GB internal storage, NFC capability, an 8MP camera, and a 1024×600 WSVGA LCD display. On the downside it will be running the achingly old Android Gingerbread (2.3) out of the gate, but Lava are promising a delicious Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) update is on the way – and it will not be particularly cheap at 22,000 INR (around £265) without a contract.
The big question remains – with an Intel Android phone offering a much reduced Android Play Store with many apps still unable to run on the hardware – will anyone plump for Intel’s platform? I’m not sure this smartphone is going to win anyone over.
Find out the best phones available right now in our 2012 Best Smartphone Guide