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Featured: Intel Packing MegaFon Mint Launches in Russia; The US is Still Here Intel

August 22, 2012 - Written By Tom Dawson

In recent memory, the one thing that has been talked about the most around CES every year has been Intel in Smartphones. Not just an ARM based chip from the company either but, a fully fledged x86 chip, like the one in your laptop, in your pocket. However, it’s taken Intel a long time to get any phones to the market, it’s now 2012 and there are four Intel based phones on the market worldwide. One in the UK exclusively for Orange, the San Diego, the Lava X900 in India, Lenovo’s K800 in China and now the MegaFon Mint in Russia. So, that’s four phones packing Intel across the globe.

You know what? That kinda sucks. Big time.

There are a number of reasons why I wouldn’t recommend an Intel based Android phone – it’s got nothing to do with power, the Atom-based chip is pretty beefy – and they all stem from quality. Firstly, not one of these phones was launched or has an update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, let alone talks of Jelly Bean. Secondly, each one of these phones are based on the reference design that was shown off to the press in CES at the beginning of the year. Last but not least, is the lack of support for Intel on phones. It’s abysmal. Sure, we’ve had Motorola and Lenovo come out saying that Intel phones are coming and, in the case of Lenovo delivered pretty well but, we’re not going to see HTC or Samsung jump to their chips any time soon. The fact that three of those phones are based on Intel’s reference design doesn’t exactly inspire buyer confidence – if big time manufacturers aren’t going to use Intel’s chips, then why should I?

Intel hasn’t mentioned any phones that are coming to the States packing their chips and it doesn’t look like X86 is getting any bigger in the mobile space, which is a real shame because, competition is always welcome and it’d only drive ARM and its lincensees to push the bar even higher. The single-core Z2460 is no slouch, it performs well in benchmarks, has a respectable 400 Mhz GPU involved and can push 8 Megapixel cameras to take 10 photos in a single second. This all leads me to wonder whether or not Intel care about the US or indeed the mobile market as much as it says it does. I’d like, no, love to see an HTC or Samsung phone packing a processor akin to that in my Desktop but, it just doesn’t look like Intel want me to.