Intel notches Lenovo, Motorola as customers in its Atom expansion into mobile

LAS VEGAS--Intel's Paul Otellini, president and CEO of the world's biggest chipmaker, announced during a presentation here at the Consumer Electronics Show Intel's first major steps into the cell phone industry. The company highlighted its Intel Atom processor Z2460 platform, formerly dubbed "Medfield," which is specifically designed for smartphones and tablets. The company also announced its first two major customers for the product: Lenovo and Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI).

Intel Paul Otellini


For Lenovo, the company said its new smartphone, the Android-powered K800, will run Intel's Z2460 and will ship in China, the world's largest wireless market, in the second quarter through China Unicom. For Motorola, the handset maker announced a "multi-year, multi-device" agreement with Intel for smarphone and tablet silicon, and said its first Atom-powered smartphone will be in carrier testing this summer, and will be commercially released soon thereafter.

Intel said its new Atom platform is either comparable to or better than competing products. Specifically, the company said Atom scored top marks in tests against unnamed, competing commercial products in terms of browser speed, JavaScript rendering and battery life. On battery life, an area where Intel silicon has long lagged products based on ARM architecture, Intel boasted of 8 hour talk times and 14 day standby times.

"We insisted on a no compromise user experience," said Intel's Otellini, who showed off an Atom reference design that supports up to a 16-megapixel camera and 1080p video. Otellini also noted that Intel's Android platform will run the vast majority of Android apps, including those compiled for other chip architectures.

Interestingly, in demonstrating the prowess of its Atom platform, Intel relied on several demonstrations used by rival Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) earlier in the day. Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, in his keynote presentation, trotted out Lenovo as a customer for its Snapdragon platform (Lenovo is using Snapdragon for its smart TV). And Lenovo showed off Gameloft's Asphalt 6 racing game running on its TV as a way to highlight the device's processing capabilities. During Otellini's keynote presentation, he too trotted out Lenovo as a partner and also showed Intel silicon running Gameloft's Asphalt 6.

The actions by Intel represent the company's attempts to break into a mobile market dominated by products based on ARM architecture and built by the likes of Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments. Intel has long dominated the desktop and laptop computer market, but has recently renewed its attempts to get into the mobile market--likely in response to consumers' dramatic and increasing demands for high-powered smartphones.

For more:
- see these two Intel releases

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