At the beginning of this year Intel finally unveiled its Atom Z2460 (Medfield) smartphone platform. The single-core, dual-thread CPU ran at up to 1.6GHz and was paired with a PowerVR SGX 540 GPU from Imagination Technologies.
Most of the first Z2460 smartphones announced simply leveraged Intel's Medfield Form Factor Reference Design (FFRD). This approach guaranteed minimal risk for the device vendor, while introducing a completely new way to address the market for Intel. If the typical device markers weren't biting at the opportunity to ship an Intel phone, Intel would simply build its own and sell it directly to carriers and others who wanted it.
The major exception was Motorola. At CES this year Motorola announced it would be building smartphones and tablets based on Intel's Atom silicon, with the first devices appearing in the second half of 2012.
We're well into the second half, and at a special event today in London the two companies announced the first fruits of their labor: the Motorola RAZR i.
If the device pictured above looks familiar to you it's because the RAZR i is very similar to the Droid RAZR M
that was just announced a couple of weeks ago in NYC. The same 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED Advanced display is present on the front, and you get the same Dupont Kevlar around back. What's new is the silicon inside: a combination of Intel's Atom Z2460 and XMM6260 baseband drive the RAZR i.
At Mobile World Congress Intel announced the Z2460 would be able to run its CPU core at up to 2GHz
, up from the 1.6GHz announced at CES. Since then, no Intel based phones have used the new 2GHz silicon. The Motorla RAZR i is the first. I believe this also makes the RAZR i the first Android smartphone to hit 2GHz in its default configuration, without overclocking. Admittedly the Z2460's base clock remains 1.3GHz, it's only when the thermal conditions allow it that the CPU will boost up to 2GHz. Frequency isn't everything of course, but it's interesting to see Intel at the forefront of ramping it in the smartphone space.
The rest of the specs should be identical (or very similar) to the Droid RAZR M. Obviously LTE support is out given the Intel HSPA+ baseband.
The RAZR i runs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) although Google/Mototorla/Intel are committed to delivering 4.1 (Jelly Bean) as an upgrade at some point.
While the RAZR i isn't the flagship device Intel needs, it's another step in the right direction. The first devices will ship in October to select European and Latin American markets, including the UK, France, Germany, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. Unlike the Droid RAZR M, the RAZR i will only be available in black.
One of these days we'll see a US-focused Intel smartphone, although I suspect that won't happen until next year.