[News] The latest x86 Smartphone Revealed - Motor RAZR-i

It's been quite some time since Intel wanting to venture into the world of smartphone where billions of dollars are said to be make every year. The latest push to the smartphone space continue with the alliance with Motorola, after Motorola Xolo X900 and Lenovo K800, both which launched outside of the US. So, here is the latest news on the x86 smartphone party - news from Forbes.

Intel‘s push into the smartphone and mobile space continued – and Motorola’s commitment to make fewer, better phones was given a live-fire exercise – with the launch of the Motorola RAZR i in London Tuesday.

The expectation has been for some time that Moto would be producing an Intel-powered smartphone, of course, and there was considerable expectation, supported by the preponderance of the word “edge” in Motorola communications, that this would also feature a new “edge-to-edge”, bezel-less display technology. Essentially, an Intel-driven take on the RAZR m.

Introduced by Andrew Morley, General Manager of Motorola UK and Ireland, the i was talked through by Jim Wicks, SVP of Mobile Experience Design, of Motorola and Eric Reid, GM of Mobile Platforms at Intel – a serious line-up. I sat down with Reed and Hicks after the launch and asked a few questions relating to the new device. More details to come, but the key points are:

  • The phone, described as the first 2GHz Intel smartphone, is running the next iteration of the Atom “Medfield” Z2460 processor we have seen clocked at 1.6 GHz in the first Intel-driven smartphones and should have the same impressive power-saving and battery management features. These are single-core processors, but have Intel’s patent Hyperthreading technology, to manage multiple tasks on one core. The graphics chip is, unsurprisingly, based on Imagination’s PowerVR architecture.
  • “Security” was mentioned but not developed on toa significant degree – but this suggests that Intel’s known-quantity status in the enterprise is seen as an expansion opportunity. Everyone likes security, of course, but enterprise loves it. This feels like a messaging “nub” at present, to be expanded upon.
  • The 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen is squeezed into a form factor about the size of the iPhone 5, the screen of which, famously, has a 4-inch diagonal. This was done by “exposing the engine” – there are visible tension screws on the side of the phone to hold the LCD in place. The frame is very thin, and supplemented by Motorola’s familiar kevlar, with Corning Gorilla Glass on the screen and “aircraft-grade” aluminium (for which read light, thin and strong).
The phone will be available in October, with the first launches in early October, in Latin America and Europe. Both declined to comment on plans for an Intel-driven device launch in the US.
  • It will ship with Ice Cream Sandwich, but will be getting a “competitively-scheduled” update to Jelly Bean (since Jelly Bean is already available on phones – and indeed the HP TouchPad, after a fashion – competitive should at least mean “sharpish”.
  • This should be easier, of course, because Motorola has walked back from its proprietary MOTOBLUR user interface, and was doing so even before its acqusition by Google. Android’s UI will be supplemented by some nice-looking “circles” on the home page, intended to make single-pane operation convenient for those who do not want a series of pages: the phone will have a single screen out of the box, with a swipe to a settings page.
  • Much was made of the 8MP camera, and its ability to take ten photos in less than a second. The point here is a good one – that much of what we think of as mechanical in photography is about processor speed and software optimization.
  • The device is envisaged as a “mid to high tier” offering – again, my question on suggested retail prices was made with little expectation of a straight answer, but a reasonable surmise might be that it will be priced somewhere beneath the iPhone 5, and target the persuadable higher-end customer.

Motorola and Intel both have points to make here – Intel with its first launch putting its chips into a higher-end handset by a higher-end western brand (no offense to Lava, ZTE or Lenovo, but they do not have the brand weight in the west of Motorola in the smartphone space). Motorola is not generally front-of-mind in markets outside the US, and after some low-key launches of solid phones is perhaps aiming to rectify that. Post-acquisition, and after contributing $1.25 billion to Google’s Q2 revenues, many both inside and outside Motorola are eager to show or be shown that the company is more than the sum of its patents.

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