Intel confirms two more ‘reference’ phones
INTEL’S smartphone head says that each new mobile chip will be accompanied by a ‘reference design’ smartphone device.
Mike Bell, Intel’s vice president of ultra mobility, said that, with two new mobile chips already on the roadmap confirmed by chief executive Paul Ottelini, then at least two new devices could be expected by 2014. Intel is using 'reference designs' to both test and demonstrate the cpabilities of its new chips for smartphones.
Mr Bell, who previously worked at Apple on the original iPhone, agreed that Intel was developing the reference designs to use as ‘calling cards’ with mobile operators and device manufacturers, rather than with the direct intention of marketing them to the public. “If you make a chip and don’t make a phone, then you just have to go in to manufacturers with Powerpoint and tell them making a phone with your chip is a really great idea,” he said. “We make the reference designs to show what our hardware can do."
The current Intel smartphone chip claims higher performance and lower power consumption on Google's Android operating system than its rivals, and future versions are likely to be half the size in less than a year.
Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Mr Bell said that Intel has “a lot of stuff in play” when it came to devices, but he added that “the really hard part is getting the software and the hardware to line up”. The forthcoming version of Google Android would be an obvious opportunity, he said. “The ‘Jelly Bean’ release is the obvious point of intersection”, he said.
Intel has announced that Orange will ship its first mass market smartphone, while Motorola and ZTE are also known to be involved in making Intel devices. Orange's Santa Clara device is very close to the original smartphone that Intel demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, and Mr Bell said that it was "natural" to expect future reference designs to be taken up in some form by manufacturers because Intel would be paying for a large part of the investment.