CES 2013: Lenovo K900 Intel-powered Smartphone Preview

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One of Lenovo’s biggest announcements here at CES is the K900, a smartphone based on an Intel Atom processor, not the usual ARM one. We go hands-on.

Lenovo K900The 5.5-inch IPS display on device is going to be big enough that some would call it a “phablet” — half smartphone half tablet. Still, phones have been steadily moving up in size, with mainstream devices sporting screens near 5 inches, so it’s not that unusual.

It will have a 1920 x 1080 (1080p) resolution, and the prototype I saw certainly looked very good.

What is going to set the K900 apart from the pack will be its Intel Atom processor. Unfortunately, details on this chip are as scarce as hens teeth. The Lenovo rep I spoke to at CES told me that Intel hasn’t yet publicly revealed all the specs of the processor, and so Lenovo cant talk about them.

The prototype unit I tested wasn’t running an operating system I recognized. At this point, if the K900 is released in the U.S. or Europe, Google’s Android OS is a strong possibility, as Intel has worked with Google to be sure this operating system and third-party apps run well on Atom chips.

However, there’s not much I can say about the performance of the Atom processor, as the prototype wasn’t running any of the software it will when/if it’s released in the West.

Battery life is also an open question, especially as Atom processors have a reputation for using much more power than ARM-based chips. My Lenovo rep promised the K900 would have more than a day of stand-by time, but that’s all I can say at this point.

The engineers for the smartphone decided to emphasize the camera. It will have a 13MP rear-facing one with dual flash. The rep I spoke with promised outstanding performance in low-light conditions.There will also be a front-facing camera.

All of this is going to go into a package that’s about 7 mm thick. Despite is large length and width, it’s certainly nice and slim.

Conclusion

At this point, the Lenovo K900 shows some promise, but that’s as far as it goes. Until there’s more info on a release outside of China, there’s not much more to be said about it.

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