CES 2013: Intel & Partners Ready New Smartphones Based on Two Atom Chipsets

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After the release of the first Intel Atom-based smartphones in 2012, Intel and its phone maker and carrier partners are now readying new phones based on the Atom Z2420 (“Lexington”) and Z2580 (“Clover Trail+”) chipsets and reference designs, said Mike Bell, VP and GM of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group, in a press conference at CES 2013.

A total of 12 manufacturers produced phones based on the Atom Z2460 processor last year, according to Bell. The Z2460 reference design was certified by carriers, and Intel also worked closely with Google on making sure that “most Android apps” would run well on the phones.

Smartphones based on the Z2460 are “very competitive in battery life,” Bell contended.

New smarphones based on the Z2580, however, will provide up to twice the performance of the current generation, he said. The new phone platform, which will be targeted at the mainstream market, will feature a dual-core Atom processor with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology, along with a dual-core graphics engine.

Meanwhile, three manufacturers — Acer, Lava International, and Safaricom — have signed up to make less pricey smartphones for emerging markets, to be based on the Atom Z2420.

Customers in emerging markets “shouldn’t settle for less,” Bell maintained. Outfitted with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology and SXC540 graphics processing, the phone will let users “capture and share their experiences with 1080p 30 fps videos,” he said.

The platform will support up to two cameras with advanced imaging capabilities, including burst mode, a feature designed to let people capture up to seven still photos in under a second with 5 MP quality.

The reference platform also calls for a microSD slot, enabling users to expand memory conveniently by purchasing cards in local stores. It includes the Intel XMM 6265 HSPA+ modem with Dual Sim/Dual Standby capabilities.

Intel Talks Up Future PCs, Too

Also at the press event, Intel talked up plans to work with partners on new Ultrabook and all-in-one (AIO) PCs.

Going forward, all Ultrabooks based on the third-generation Intel Core processor family will operate at as low as 7 watts, in place of the 10 watt design originally supported by the 3rd generation chips, said Kirk Skaugen, VP and GM of the PC Client Group at Intel.

During the 2013 holiday season, PC makers will bring out Ultrabooks based on 22 nm 4th generation (Haswell) Intel Core processors, codenamed “Bay Trail,” built “from the ground up” for use with Ultrabooks, according to Skaugen. Features will include “mandatory touchscreens,” Intel Wireless, thinner designs, and up to nine hours of continuous battery life.

The new Ultrabooks will come in a variety of form factors, and they will be capable of running both Windows 8 and Android, he said.

During the event, Skaugen showed off a prototype unit that allows you to detach the keyboard with the use of only one hand.  

Intel is also working with software partners on new “perceptual computing” technologies such as voice control, face recognition, eye motion tracking, and gesture recognition aimed at replacing the traditional mouse and outmoded password technologies.

Skaugen also demo’d forthcoming tabletop “adaptive AIO PCs” which will come with a battery built into the screen for easy portability around the house.

Intel, he said, is collaborating with software partners like Microsoft Studio, Electronic Arts, and Sesame Street on new applications such as games especially designed for the tabletop platform.



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