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Intel’s Medfield mobile chip will power Lenovo and Motorola smartphones

Lenovo's Intel-powered handset is China-only, but Motorola is all set for the US

The big news at Intel’s CES keynote was the unveiling of its long-awaited processor for mobile devices – an Atom chip codenamed Medfield – as well as two smartphones powered by the chip.

The first handset will be made by Lenovo. The K800 is a 10mm thick smartphone with a 4.5in screen and integrated WiDi – Intel’s wireless display technology, which lets you stream 1080p content to WiDi-enabled TVs. It runs the latest version of Android, but – bully for Westerners – will only be available in China.

There’s hope for the rest of us, though, as Intel is keen to get as many manufacturers as possible using its new mobile chipset. To this end it has produced the Intel Smartphone Reference Design to help manufacturers bring smartphones to market quickly.

The Reference Design is an Android handset which is less than 10mm thick, has NFC to enable contactless payments and an 8-megapixel camera. Intel is confident about its new processor’s power efficiency; it claims the reference smartphone will have six hours of 1080p video playback, 45 hours of audio playback, six hours’ talktime and 14 days of standby power.

The reference smartphone has an HDMI output and Intel claims it will have superb gaming performance; a demo of Asphalt 6 showed smooth and detailed graphics, even when blown up and projected onto a huge screen. The company was also keen to put to rest any worries about incompatibility with existing Android apps written for ARM-based chips; Intel smartphones will be able to emulate existing smartphone chips to make sure all apps will run.

Mobile gaming

Mobile gaming on the big screen

The CEO of Motorola Mobility, Sanjay Jha, then took to the stage to let us know when those outside China can get their hands on an Intel smartphone. According to Jha, “Motorola and Intel have entered into a multi-year, multi-device strategic partnership around mobile devices and smartphones” and that the first Motorola phones with Intel chips will be available in the US in the summer.

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