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Intel

We don’t usually like to indulge in rumors on Android.Appstorm, especially the “very out-there” kind, but this particular rumor has been spreading lately and it got everyone a little intrigued to say the least.

SamMobile, a notable source of everything Samsung, has shared a tip that the next flagship device from the Korean manufacturer will have the GT-I9500 product code. Given that previous information had Samsung’s first Tizen device as the GT-I9500, everyone went in a frenzy deducing that the Galaxy S4 would run Tizen, the open-source MeeGo successor OS that Samsung is developing with Intel.

Now, to be honest with you, I’m rather amused by wild predictions like that making the rounds of every tech and phone website. First, no matter how much we speculate, there’s really no way to know for sure. Second, and most importantly, do you believe Samsung would cut off Android on its flagship for an untested and unsupported OS, jeopardizing its current standing as lead smartphone manufacturer? I don’t think so. Well, to be honest, I’m only 99% certain.

Everyone knows that Samsung plans to detach itself from Google’s reign over Android, and start a more independent venture with Tizen and Intel. It’s even confirmed that Samsung Tizen devices are coming in 2013. However, given the lack of apps — it’s all about app store numbers now, isn’t it? — for this new OS, it’d be rather silly to bet a flagship’s success over it. The S5 or S6 may run Tizen, but the S4 is a long, long shot. Just imagine the debacle if people bought it assuming they’d get all their apps, then ended up with no Whatsapp, no Instagram and no Angry Birds or Cut The Rope. There would be blood shed.

However, the rumor mill being what it is, this will continue spreading until we get an official word from Samsung or until the S4′s actual announcement. And it got us interested here. Suppose there’s an alternate universe where Samsung would seriously consider Tizen to be ready for the Galaxy S4, would you actually buy it? Or in other words, are you more interested in the Galaxy S brand than the OS, or is it all about Android for you?

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.

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