While Intel’s processors have dominated the PC and laptop market for years now, their presence in mobile has been quite abysmal. Aside from one carrier device, the Orange San Diego which was launched earlier this year, Intel is nowhere to be seen, leaving the mobile field empty for the likes of Qualcomm and Nvidia to battle it out.
However, the situation is about to change — at least this is Intel’s hope. Thanks to a recent multi-year and multi-device partnership with Motorola, Intel is looking forward to flipping the ship around and bringing some disruption to the current status-quo.
Two days ago, in London, we got to see the first result of this partnership: the Motorola Droid RAZR i. Looking very similar to the RAZR M that was announced earlier, the RAZR i boasts Intel’s Medfield Atom processor clocked at 2GHz. It is a single core processor but thanks to hyper-threading, it should be seen and treated by Android as a dual-core processor. Other features include a 4.3″ Super AMOLED display, a 2000mAH battery, and Ice Cream Sandwich in an 8.3mm body.
One advantage of the new processor that Intel and Motorola boasted was the camera speed. The RAZR i can launch its camera in under a second and take burst 8MP images at up to 10fps. However, given that this is the first serious Intel Android smartphone to be marketed in several countries, there are some downsides. The most important is app compatibility which is supposed to be a bit lower than for other chips — about 90 to 95% of apps and games will work with Intel processors.
Personally, I am excited to see a bit of competition in Android hardware. The current Qualcomm and Nvidia processors are hitting a stagnation, with only little bumps that offer no significant advantage aside from a tiny speed improvement. Intel’s hyper-threading approach is an example of things done differently but efficiently nonetheless. I do not expect them to revolutionize the processor market magically, but I see them as a potential for diversification and a drive for innovation. After all, competition can only benefit the consumer.