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Intel Atom chips to power new Orange and ZTE smartphones

Intel is working on processors for better performance and cheap smartphones

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Intel announced new Atom smartphone chips at the Mobile World Congress yesterday and said that ZTE and Orange will both build devices based on its Atom microprocessor.

ARM-based processors dominate inside smartphones and tablets, but Intel is focusing a lot of resources on carving out a chunk of this growing market and wooing smartphone makers to use its processor architecture.

ZTE, Orange and Indian company Lava International were added to the list of companies that will develop smartphones and tablets with Intel inside, the company said.

Similar to Intel's previously announced deal with Motorola Mobility, ZTE will develop both smartphones and tablets based on Atom, the first of which will arrive during the second half of 2012.

Mobile operator Orange will start shipping the Android-based "Santa Clara" smartphone during the end of the first quarter or the beginning of the third quarter, according to Yves Maitre, vice president for Devices at Orange Group. In addition to an Intel Atom Z2460 processor at 1.6 GHz, the phone has a 4.03-inch screen with a 1024-by-600 pixel resolution and an 8-megapixel camera. The smartphone will be manufactured by Gigabyte, and sold in the UK and France.

Lava's XOLO X900 (above) also has the same specifications, and will go on sale in India during the second quarter.

Both Orange and Lava have based their respective phones on Intel's reference design, which aims to make it easier to develop products, according to Intel's CEO Paul Otellini.

In its product news, Intel announced that the existing Z2460 will be able run at clock speeds up to 2GHz.

Also, the company expanded its portfolio with the Z2580 processor, which promises to double the performance of the Z2460, and also add support for LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks along with 3G and 2G access. The first products based on the processor will arrive in the first half of next year, according to Intel.

Intel has also set its sights on low-cost smartphones, which it hopes will be powered by the 1GHz Z2000 processor. The first smartphones based on the processor will start shipping in the beginning in 2013, Intel said.



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