CES 2012: Various brands overview
Intel Android smartphone reference design
After several prototype devices that never saw the light of day, Intel has finally pulled it off - one of their processors is powering a real-world smartphone. And there will be more to come too.
There were two Android smartphones with an Atom CPU ticking inside them - Intel's reference platform and the Lenovo K800, which is headed for a Q2 launch in China.
Let's start with the reference platform. It's powered by an Intel Atom Z2460 "Medfield" processor with a single core (which is HyperThreading-enabled) paired with an overclocked PowerVR SGX540 GPU (running at 400MHz).
Early benchmarks show very competitive performance and power usage, compared to current dual-core ARM chips.
In terms of hardware, the reference platform packs a 4" screen with the unconventional 1024x600 pixels resolution, 8MP main camera with 1080p video recording, 1.3MP video-call camera and 16GB built-in storage.
It's running stock Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but Android Ice Cream Sandwich is coming to Intel's platform too.
It looks and feels like a modern smartphone, you wouldn’t guess that it's a completely different platform underneath. Anyway, it's not a device that will make it to market - it's just a showcase of what Intel's platform is capable of.
The good news for Intel is that Motorola has agreed to build phones and tablets using the Atom Medfield platform. There isn't even a clue when they might hit the shelves though.
Lenovo K800 hands-on
The device that will make it to market is the Lenovo K800. It uses the same internals as the reference platform, but ups the screen size to 4.5" and the resolution to 720p.
The camera on the K800 is an 8MP unit capable of 1080p video recording. There's 16GB built-in storage, but there's no microSD card to expand it.
Unlike the reference platform, the Lenovo K800 is running skinned Android 2.3. Lenovo say that the phone will be updated to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich some time after the release.
We didn’t spend much time playing with the phone but things seemed to be running smoothly.
The K800 isn't the thinnest phone around, but its 10mm of thickness are very respectable for a first time effort. It features an industrial design reminiscent of Lenovo's ThinkPad line. There's a 1900mAh battery inside, but we don't have info on the standby and talk time numbers.
One curious features that the Lenovo K800 has (that no other smartphone has yet) is Wi-Di - something like a wireless HDMI. Intel and major TV makers are pushing forward with this technology, which is easier to hook up than micro/mini HDMI ports.
The phone has WCDMA 3G connectivity with HSPA+ (up to 21Mbps downlink) for China Unicom's network and will launch in Q2 of this year. We haven’t heard of any plans to bring the phone to market outside China for now, though.
Reviews > CES 2012: Various brands overview