Mobile hardware

Intel makes 'long-term commitment' to smartphones

Jennifer Scott

Intel joined with Orange today to unveil its first smartphone and promised it was in the market for the long haul.

At the launch event in London, Graham Palmer, country manager in the UK for Intel, said the San Diego handset marked the beginning of a new drive for his company, with high levels of research dollars going into furthering its position.

“You may see new phones launched every day, but this is an exciting milestone for Intel,” he told journalists. “This is the first [incarnation] but there [will be] many more to follow.”

Palmer described the investment into mobile technologies as "a long-term commitment” to bring Intel’s development down to devices such as smartphones, rather than its more traditional place in servers or PCs.

“From Intel’s perspective, we will continue to invest billions of dollars to take our performance down to these low-battery areas,” he added. “It is not just about the processor, but the interconnect as well… and this progressive and innovative partnership [with Orange] helps us.”

Intel has taken its experience in creating processors for PCs and transferred it to the mobile market

Ernest Doku, technology expert, uSwitch.com

The San Diego is aimed at the entry-level smartphone consumer, but contains an Intel Atom Z2460 processor, 16GB internal memory, a 600x1024 resolution 4in screen and runs on Google’s Android operating system – albeit version 2.3, codenamed Gingerbread.

Pricing will be very reasonable, however, when it launches on 6 June, with a pay-as-you-go handset priced at £199.99 and contracts starting at £15.50 per month with a free handset.

"The fact that the San Diego is the first smartphone to be powered by Intel technology will certainly prick up a few ears in the industry and it will be interesting to see how it performs, not just in terms of raw horsepower, but when compared to the likes of more established names in the smartphone market,” said Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com.

"Intel has taken its experience in creating processors for personal computers, and transferred it to the mobile market, to create powerful portable technology which doesn't drain battery life and provides a spritely user interface,” he added.

“But in a world where the speed and power of smartphone stars such as HTC’s One X and the Galaxy S3 have garnered critical acclaim and generated consumer excitement alike, it remains to be seen whether a bargain price and Intel’s brand on the box will be enough for the San Diego to outgun the competition,” said Doku.

The question for Intel now is where the launch will lead and whether it will remain an entry-level smartphone supplier or look to the big leagues and business handsets.


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