Unveils two new additions to mobile chip line-up

In a follow-up to its Medfield processor, unveiled at the CES (consumer electronics show) a few weeks ago, Intel announced two new additions to its mobile phone chip line-up at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

According to the Intel President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Paul Otellini, only 10 per cent of smartphone usage is dedicated to calls, and the rest is computing.

“We want to take the legacy of computing and bring it to smartphones. Smartphones are essentially small computers.”

Features

The new Intel Atom smartphone processors will feature the following specifications: 8 megapixel camera, burst mode shooting (10 pictures in less than 1 second), 1080p Full HD movie recording with HDMI access and 14 days of standby battery.

The 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Z2460 launched at CES will now feature an enhanced 2GHz frequency.

The Atom Z2580 is equally fast with an Intel Xmm 7160 model, LTE and faster HSPA+ capabilities.

Intel has also introduced a lower-end single core Atom Z200 which will clock in at 1GHz and include an Intel XMM 6265 modem and HSPA+ capabilities.

Although Intel's main competitors in the category, Qualcomm and ARM are focussing on quad-core and more high-end chips, Intel's introduction of the Atom Z200 chip opens up a huge market of mid-range smartphones, which have a huge adoption in developing markets such as India and China.

Mr Otellini also stated that “Intel is dedidated to maintaining open standards across platforms and the processors will be available on Windows, Linux, Android, Tizen and Mac operating systems.”

According to Mr Otellini, India is a huge market for Intel, where smartphone growth is 50 per cent, almost three times the growth in the rest of the world.

Ties up with lava

One of the first companies to work with Intel chips in India is the mobile phone manufacturer Lava.

Established in 2009, the Lava Co-founder and Director, Mr Vishal Sehgal, who was present at the launch said that the company has already sold 10 million handset units in India.

The Indian customer's perception of Lava has been of a budget phone. As part of the association with Intel, Lava's new smartphones will be rebranded ‘Xolo'. The first of the Xolo phones, the X900 will run a 1.6 Ghz Atom processor with 400 Mhz GPU and an 8-megapixel camera with burst mode. Other partners that Intel announced at the event were ZTE in China, Orange and Visa.

Motorola and Lenovo had already committed to working with Intel at CES this year.

The Visa President, Mr John Partrdge, who was also present at the event, said that Visa will be working with Intel to incorporate mobile payments in smartphones. Visa has already tied up with Monitise to facilitate mobile payments in India for tasks such as booking tickets and topping up phones. Intel's budget Atom Z200 chip could bring about a big upheaval in mobile payments in India if the technology is integrated in budget phones.

(The reporter is in Barcelona at Nokia's invitation)

ketaki@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 28, 2012)
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