India's new Atom-powered Xolo X900 ISN'T Intel's first smartphone
Despite the hype, Lava's Android offering ain't Chipzilla's mobile debut
Intel is providing the Medfield Atom processor for the Xolo X900, an Android phone being launched in India - but despite the headlines it's a long way from the Intel's first smartphone.
Not that the X900 isn't a competent Android handset. Outsiders might rate India as a developing market but local brand Lava reckons there's a market for a £262 ($419) device featuring a 4-inch screen and 8MP camera, along with the usual Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/NFC and HDMI capabilities necessary for today's modern Android handset.
Intel itself is being quite careful with the wording, claiming on only that the XOLO is "India's first smartphone with Intel inside", our emphasis, but that's not stopped the BBC and other's calling it the "First Intel-powered smartphone".
Intel chips powered a range of BlackBerry handsets, and a generation of Windows Mobile based devices, including O2's XDA II and running right up to the XDA Advantage – which was more mini-laptop than mobile phone. Even the venerable Nokia Communicator 9000 had an Intel chip in its heart - so Intel didn't miss the mobile revolution, it let the revolution slip through its fingers and into the hands of ARM licensees like Qualcomm.
But now the company is fighting back, and in less than a week will have an Android handset in the shops – in India at least. The deal with Lava was announced at CES in January, and the handset will be in the online shop next week. Bloomberg took a look, including pushing a couple of 3D games into the background while decoding HD video without a hiccup, though they were obliged to take Intel's word on the five-hour talk time.
The X900 will run Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) at launch, with an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich promised really soon, so we should see some proper competition between chip families.
Back in January Intel also demonstrated the similarly-specced Lenovo K800, so the X900 might well be Intel's first Android handset, but it certainly won't be the last. ®
Re: Nobody cares about AC97
Then just try to install Debian or Ubuntu or Gentoo or whatever on a machine where there is no public documentation of the audio codec. Most mobile devices are like that.
Linux only works so well today, because PCs are very standardised. Accessing harddisks or the screen is exactly the same no matter what kind of PC you have, at least for basic stuff. Just try to read onto what people with laptops had to go through in the 1990s. Back then not even diskette drives were standard, so your Linux boot disk didn't work on every laptop. In fact if you had a SCSI machine, you didn't have a standard SCSI controller, so getting it to run was hard.
Nobody cares about AC97
"For all intents and purposes, for the current era of smartphones, this is Intel's first model."
I don't buy it, the older smartphones were smartphones, and had Intel CPUs in them. I could use the same logic to claim some 2012-model PC was the first PC to ever use an Intel CPU. Nevertheless, the older devices that used Intel CPUs were not running x86, they were running Intel-built ARMs.
To run my favorite OS, Linux does not care one bit if you have AC97, VGA, or even a PCI bus. The fact of the matter is, though, unless the Atom has changed radically of late, the Atom draws more power than a similar-performance ARM both under full load and idle. I would not be interested in an Atom-based phone.
Re: wow congrats Intel
Well, how about we apply a really advanced forensic technique that I developed a few years ago, called "wait and see"? Radical suggestion, I know, but it's served me well in the past. It's so much more informative than guessing from a basis of no knowledge whatsoever.
I might be incorrect but I thought that the first two Communicators were GEOS-based, with a 386 processor.
Sure there were 'Intel' processors in phones, but...
Sure there were 'Intel' processors in phones, but those were still based on ARM (StrongARM and XScale processors). Intel sold that part of the business to Marvell a few years back and haven't had a processor in a phone since.