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MWC 2012: Intel Unveils Smartphone Initiatives

Nathan Eddy is a contributor to eWeek and TechWeekEurope, covering cloud and BYOD

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Intel announces partnerships with Orange, ZTE, Visa and Lava International

Intel president and CEO Paul Otellini detailed a number of announcements and plans aimed at expanding the company’s smartphone product portfolio and customer ecosystem, including strategic new engagements with Orange, Lava International Ltd., ZTE, the world’s fifth-largest handset maker, and Visa.

Otellini made the announcements during an Intel news conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. He also highlighted the company’s plans to expand its smartphone and communications product roadmaps for the performance and value smartphone market segments.

Mobile collaborations

Yves Maitre, Orange senior vice president of mobile multimedia and devices, joined Otellini to discuss a new Orange smartphone based on the Intel Atom processor Z2460 reference design. Housed in a sleek body, the design enables rich entertainment experiences and Orange services, including Orange TV. “We are very pleased to add new, important customers and capabilities to our phone offerings today. We remain focused on delivering exciting new features and outstanding performance to smartphone customers around the world.” said Otellini.

Similar to its previously announced partnership with Motorola Mobility, Intel also announced a multi-year mobile device collaboration across smartphones and tablets with ZTE. He Shiyou, executive vice president and head of the terminal division of ZTE, discussed how his company’s alliance with Intel will enable ZTE to move faster and create unique and differentiated products for wireless operators. He also announced that ZTE’s first Intel-powered mobile device is scheduled to debut in the second half of 2012.

Intel also announced plans to enter the high-growth market for smartphones in India through an alliance with Lava International Ltd., an Indian mobile handset company. Vishal Sehgal, Lava co-founder and board director, announced the launch of XOLO Smartphone by Lava. The XOLO X900 is based on Intel’s smartphone reference design and will be the first Intel technology-based smartphone in the India market. The device will be available in the second quarter of 2012, he said.

Building on its ecosystem engagements, Intel announced plans for three smartphone System-on-Chip (SoC) products that expand the company’s portfolio from the performance-to-value market segments. Extending the energy efficiency of the Atom processor Z2460, formerly codenamed “Medfield,” Intel announced that the platform would support speeds up to 2GHz. Intel also announced the Atom Z2580 processor that doubles the performance of the Atom processor Z2460, and features an advanced multimode LTE/3G/2G solution. Intel will sample the Z2580 in the second half of the year with customer products scheduled in the first half of 2013.

Addressing the growing handset opportunity in emerging markets where consumers look for more value at lower prices, Intel disclosed plans for the Atom processor Z2000. The Z2000 is aimed at the value smartphone market segment, which industry sources predict could reach up to 500 million units by 20151.The platform includes a 1.0 GHz Atom CPU offering enhanced graphics and video performance, and the ability to access the Web and play Google Android games. It also supports the Intel XMM 6265 3G HSPA+ modem with Dual-SIM 2G/3G. Intel will sample the Z2000 in mid-2012 with customer products scheduled by early 2013.

An emerging trend is the use of mobile devices to enable secure online and retail commerce. Otellini welcomed John Partridge, President, Visa Inc., who announced a strategic multi-year alliance to develop mobile commerce solutions tailored to consumers in developed and developing countries.

The effort includes collaboration across a range of Visa mobile services and Atom-based smartphones and tablets to deliver secure user services. As a first step, Partridge announced that Intel’s smartphone reference design is now certified for Visa payWave mobile financial transactions. This means that customer products based on Intel’s smartphone reference design will have time-to-market support of Visa mobile services.

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