Intel Phone is ‘Production Grade’ and ‘On-Par’ say Technology Review

Posted on 21 December 2011 by

In July last year Carrrypad was one of the few publications to have unrestricted access to a Moorestown phone. Made by Aava as a reference design it ran Meego. We were supposed to see Intel phones later that year but it turned out that the Moorestown platform wasn’t good enough and Intel promptly moved focus to the Medfield platform. In February this year Intel held an early prototype Medfield phone up on stage. This time it was running Android. Later in the year Meego was effectively dropped and since then Intel have been pushing Android (via an official tie-up with Google) and talking about 32nm Medfield-based phones in the first half of 2011.


Technology Review have had hands-on with an early prototype, possibly another Aava reference design or development kit that Intel are calling ‘production grade.’ They have also had hands-on with a Medfield Tablet running Ice Cream Sandwich too. Unfortunately there aren’t many details or thoughts but there’s a hint that Intel will reveal more at CES in just 3 weeks time. We’ll be in the keynote to cover this of course.

The only real feedback given by Technology Review on the Intel phone was this:

The phone was powerful and pleasing to use, on a par with the latest iPhone and Android handsets. It could play Blu-Ray-quality video and stream it to a TV if desired; Web browsing was smooth and fast. Smith says Intel has built circuits into the Medfield chip specifically to speed up Android apps and Web browsing.

That’s likely to indicate Wi-Di integration and other hardware acceleration. Remember there will be hardware video encoding in Medfield.  It’s also likely that Medfield phones scale up a little bit higher than other leading smartphones in terms of performance. What you get in performance though, is likely to cost in terms of battery life.

At the end of the day, if Medfield is good enough, easy to design and integrate and, importantly, cheap enough, manufacturers are likely to be interested. If it offers unique features such as Wireless Display and other technologies, it might even raise an eyebrow with the customer but it’s still going to have to compete in a fierce smartphone market where it will have to differentiate itself against Android and other popular brands, operating systems and platforms.

Via Slashgear

Source: Technoloy Review

Categorized | News

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16 Comments For This Post

  1. Jack says:

    How many reference designs are they going to make. Nobody wants an intel phone, the battery life on the latest arm phones are just about bearable.
    Intel are flogging a dead horse, they need to start making arm chips if they want to be in the smartphone game

  2. Chippy says:

    Have you measured the efficiency of Medfield? Do customers care if its Intel inside?

  3. unbrick says:

    “22nm Medfield”?

  4. Chippy says:

    You are right. Sorry. Its 32nm process.

  5. paul says:

    How much vaporware can Intel produce? Every year they make promises that they fail to deliver. Outclassed on MIDs , and getting nowhere on phones.

  6. zeo says:

    Yeah, that’s like complaining about ARM not making any Super Computers.

    It takes time to get into a new market and it’s not like Intel isn’t improving their offering just like ARM has been improving. They’re just coming at it from opposite ends.

    ARM was intended for low power usage and they’re working their way up. While Intel started with higher end usage and are working their way down. Only recently have either started to reach the point that we can start seeing overlap.

    While Intel’s Medfield may or may not get into actual products but it is a sign that Intel is very close to becoming a real competitor in the mobile market. Even if it takes them another generation or two to really take off.

    Even if they went the ARM route doesn’t mean they would have it any easier either. Like Nvidia’s original Tegra never really took off, the Tegra 2 took about year to really start selling and finally the Tegra 3 is the first one that’s been popular from the start.

    Similarly it will take time for Intel to push and develop their mobile offerings.

    Mind Windows 8 is a game changer being the first time a desktop OS is being intentionally optimized for mobile devices as well as traditional PC’s but Windows 8 for ARM has been pushed back to about mid 2013.

    So Intel has about half a year after Windows 8 is released to capitalize on being the first out with Windows 8 on mobile devices and by then they’ll start pushing out their next, next gen offerings.

    Intel has also invested in technology to allow seamless quick switching between two OS’s. So Intel Smart Phones and Tablets will be able to use both Android and Windows 8. Along with likely better legacy support than ARM devices can provide.

    So all in all it’s too early to be dismissing Intel yet with competition yet to really start.

  7. Neii says:

    I remember when everybody thought Tegra was vaporware, look at them now though! Sometimes good things just take awhile to get going.

    The mobile market will be absolutely unpredictable over the next few years. The only real guarantee is Androids continued worldwide rise while iOS continues a slow decline.

  8. joe says:

    So, will these run Windows 8 (with the necessary companion chips)? Will they perform better than the current z series Atoms? I’m still clinging onto the dead Windows UMPC.

  9. niklas says:

    Haha, me too. I still use my Viliv N5 everyday.

  10. GdgtGuy says:

    I still have hopes/delusions on replacing my N5 with a multi-core ARM based Windows 8 clamshell or slider UMPC. You can do it Microsoft!

  11. nart says:

    Too bad it’s going to be a long wait till Windows 8 on ARM or high performing low power Intel chips.

  12. zin says:

    It seems it’s going to be a very long wait for Windows 8 on ARM with good 3rd party software or higher performance Intel Atoms.

    For now, I’m hoping to see a 5″ Android slider. Too bad that’s almost as unlikely as another UMPC coming out in the next year.

  13. lewis says:

    Me too. I’m still rooting for a Windows 8 UMPC on a quad core ARM CPU. There may be no classic desktop but that doesn’t prevent developers from creating complex software. C, C++, C#, etc. are still supported. Not to mention the WinRT framework should help tremendously.

  14. johan says:

    It’ll take some time but I’m hoping developers will make full use of WinRT to make ARM and x86 compatible software. Forcing the Metro UI doesn’t necessarily mean apps will be feature limited like the ones on smartphone OS’s and their derivatives.

    I’m still keeping hope for a slider type UMPC.

  15. tom says:

    I really hope software companies get interested in making software for the Metro UI. I’m getting tired of the apps (both paid and free) in the Android Market where it’s clear it was made by one person in his spare time. Even the useful apps often get abandoned and may not work on your next device even though it’s running the same Android Version.

  16. jedrey says:

    It hasn’t been confirmed that the desktop UI is being removed for the ARM version. It was said that Microsoft is considering it, though. I really hope software vendors will consider supporting ARM when updating their applications for Windows 8.

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