Motorola, Lenovo making Intel smartphones

Intel has finally managed to score in the mobile market, with a Lenovo handset unveiled and a major partnership with Motorola.

Motorola, Lenovo making Intel smartphones

The first smartphone to run on the Intel architecture will be Lenovo’s K800. Set for release in China in Q2, it features a 4.5in screen and the ability to stream HD content to TVs. The company is also working on a 10in tablet using the Atom processor.

Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini revealed the K800 alongside Lenovo’s senior vice president Liu Jun during a keynote at CES, also showing off an Intel reference design smartphone and tablet.

However, it’s the multi-year, multi-device deal with Motorola – currently being acquired by Google – that could lead to the first Intel smartphones arriving in the US and Europe.

Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha said devices would be announced this summer, and available to consumers shortly thereafter. The phones will feature Atom chips and run Google’s Android, which Otellini said had been optimised for the Intel architecture and was the best performing version of the mobile OS.

Otellini revealed a sneak peak at an Intel reference design handset, claiming it showed the company had created a “customer-ready platform” and that manufacturers would be able to bring products to market quickly.

The reference design also runs Android, full 1080p video with HDMI support, and an NFC chip built in. The camera is 8MP, but the platform supports up to 16MP, and Intel promises high quality photos at a super fast frame rate.

Otellini also claimed substantial battery life: six hours of video playback, 45 hours of audio, eight hours of talk time and a whopping 14 days on standby.

Otellini said the “small number” of apps that are written for a “different instruction set” would not be a problem, as Intel had moved developers from its Windows side to work on creating an easy solution, which will be provided free to developers. “We want to simplify it for the end user so they don’t have to think about it,” he said.

Other mobile devices

The phones will also interact with future Ultrabooks. A demo showed an Intel handset being tapped against an Ultrabook to make an NFC mobile payment.

Otellini also briefly held aloft a tablet running Windows 8 on Intel’s 32nm Atom chip. He stressed the importance of Intel to Windows 8 on tablets; while Microsoft is creating a version to run on rival ARM, legacy applications will only work on Intel devices.

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