Intel's progress into the Android ecosystem hasn't exactly been earth-shattering. The number of high-end and mid-range smartphones equipped with an ATOM CPU still number in the single digits, making the x86 architecture a fairly low priority for app developers. In addition, Intel's emulator images have always lacked support for the Google APIs, leaving developers without the ability to test common staples like Google Maps or push messaging. Fortunately, that issue was recently rectified with KitKat as Google and Intel have finally shipped an x86 system image with Google API support.
ARM still dominates mobile devices more than two years after Intel started making chips suitable for Android phones and tablets. The company is taking another swing at it in 2014 with the newly announced Merrifield and Moorefield chips. These processors pack updated GPUs, new 64-bit architecture, and an efficient 22nm manufacturing process.
The Merrifield chips are now officially known as the Z34xx family. According to benchmarks produced by Intel, the dual-core Z3480 processor is capable of besting the Snapdragon 800 and Apple A7.
For some reason, Samsung played a bit coy when it announced a pair of new Galaxy Tab 3 models yesterday, and left out the long-rumored Intel chip powering the 10-inch version. This morning Intel let loose with a little PR of its own, finally verifying what Reuters tentatively confirmed: there's Intel inside. The 1.6Ghz dual-core processor powering the Android 4.2 tablet is part of Intel's Clover Trail+ line. With Samsung's massive market presence, the Tab 3 10.1 could easily become the best-selling Intel Android device yet.
You think it's over? It's not over until ASUS says it is. And in addition to a handful of other hardware announcements at Computex, they've pulled the wraps off of a pair of more standard tablets in their MeMO line. The 10-inch MeMO Pad FHD (for "Full HD," we presume) is the more interesting of the two, thanks to its 1920x1080 screen IPS screen and unconventional Intel Atom processor. The MeMO Pad HD 7 is a slight refresh of the original, budget-friendly MeMO Pad, this time with a high-res screen and a quad-core processor.
Today at Computex 2013, ASUS' Chairman Jonney Shih gave birth to no less than 11 products in a span of less than an hour, a surprising rate of fire we're not used to even at flagship events like MWC or CES, let alone Computex. Not bad at all, ASUS.
Undoubtedly, the most interesting and important announcement was the Transformer Book Trio, "the world’s first three-in-one mobile device." The Trio actually consists of two pieces:
- An 11.6" tablet with a 1920x1080 IPS display and 64GB of internal storage onboard, powered by a mobile-friendly 2GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2580 chip (32nm Clover Trail+).
At the moment, mobile platforms are vastly dominated by the ARM architecture, licensed to pretty much every major chip/phone maker out there. That isn't stopping Intel from pushing forward with its x86 mobile chips. The latest taker for the Atom line is Chinese manufacturer ZTE, with the oh-so-appropriately-named ZTE GEEK. The 5-inch smartphone was announced at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing.
The GEEK is built around the Atom Z2580 chip, a 2.0Ghz dual-core processor that uses Intel's 32 nanometer fabrication process.
Intel, not to be left out of the early CES fun, had a couple of announcements for tech fans today – a low-powered platform formerly known as "Lexington," (lovingly called Atom Z2420) for "emerging" value smartphone markets, and the Atom Z2760, codenamed "Bay Trail" headed for tablets and higher-end smartphones.
Intel says that it's already found partners in Acer, Lava International, and Safaricom for the Z2420 platform, and that the chip will be capable of 1.2GHz speed, 1080p hardware acceleration, and support for two cameras (with burst mode).
Speaking to Pocket-Lint at today's unveiling of the RAZR M and RAZR HD, Motorola has reportedly confirmed that the RAZR M will be announced in the UK with an Intel chip, ousting the Qualcomm S4 found in the US Verizon version. Pocket-lint says the device will also get a "name change," but that just may be referring to the dropping of the DROID branding.
What we've seen of Intel phones so far hasn't been too impressive, so let's hope Motorola has managed to tame the Medfield-based Atom processor into something you'd actually want inside your smartphone.
Intel has been conspicuously absent from the mobile arms race in recent years but 2012 is the year the company changes all that. After a significant showing at CES this year, Intel has now teamed up with Orange to deliver San Diego. No, not the city, and get used to making the distinction. The San Diego is Europe's first Intel-powered Android phone.
The 4.03" device will be powered by the 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2460, and run on an HSPA+ network.
It's finally happening - Intel processors are coming to Android phones, for better or for worse (we tend to think it's going to be the former). The world's first Intel smartphone? The Lenovo K800. But the real question is, is it actually going to be any good? Judging by the short time we spent with the device earlier today, the answer is a pretty emphatic "nope." The device in question has a 1280x720 4.5" display, 1.6GHz Z2460 Atom processor (single core with hyperthreading), and an 8MP camera.