Until now mobile phones have predominantly employed ARM processors but that is beginning to change. Already a huge name in computing Intel are now seeking to compete in the mobile phone market.
In April we saw the release in India of the first mobile handset to be powered by an Intel processor – the Lava XOLO X900 and in May the Lenovo LePhone K800 was released in China. Now Intel smartphones have reached the shores of the UK with the release of the new San Diego due out on 6th June. It is also anticipated that the San Diego will shortly be released in France.
The San Diego will be made available to UK consumers through Orange and will cost £199.99 on a pay as you go basis. Contracts will be available from £15.00 per month when you purchase before 25th July. This package will include 50 minutes of free calls, 50 free texts and 100MB of data per month.
Compared to the likes of Apple’s iPhone 4S (retailing at £489.99 on Orange Pay as you Go) and the new top rated Samsung Galaxy S3 (costing £499.95 from most retailers for the 16GB SIM free handset) the San Diego is considered a low-entry phone. Perhaps not what you might expect from the likes of Intel but the main focus for the computer chip giant is to gain entry into the market.
The San Diego runs on an Intel Atom Z2460 1.6GHz single core processor and sits on Android’s 2.3 Gingerbread platform. Whilst this seems a little disappointing in terms of grunt power Intel maintain their single core processor matches the performance of other dual core processors. They do concede however that it cannot compete with the new quad core processors being introduced in the high-end smartphones.
Having said that the San Diego is kitted out with an 8 megapixel camera capable of capturing 10 photos per second and shooting video at 1080p, HD voice giving excellent audio and voice quality when making calls, and a more than respectable 4.03 inch high resolution (1024 x 600 pixel) touch screen. Intel have also invested heavily in working with Google to ensure that the huge library of smartphone apps designed for use with the ARM processors will function just as seamlessly when used with the Intel chip.
Perhaps a key issue for the future success of Intel is its marketing power and history tells us they excel in that field. Already Intel branding is made very obvious with the Intel logo on the exterior of the San Diego handset, but also appearing on screen when the phone starts up. Other manufacturers of mobile phone processors have not openly marketed their brand but with the introduction of Intel into the market that trend looks set to change.
So is it time to sell your mobile to a phone recycling company and switch to an Intel powered smartphone? It seems unlikely that there will be a rush to own an Intel smartphone when the technology available on the San Diego falls short of the best smartphones but this is just the beginning and Intel intend to be serious contenders in the future.