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MWC 2012: Orange To Launch Android Phone With Intel Inside

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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For the first time, the familiar “Intel Inside” logo will grace a smartphone as Orange moves London to Santa Clara

On the first day of the Mobile World Congress (MWC), Orange has announced “Santa Clara”, a smartphone formerly known as “London”, which it claims will be the first ever smartphone to be powered by an Intel CPU.

The device, based on an Intel reference model, will be available in France and the UK sometime this year. It will feature a 1.6 GHz Medfield Atom processor.

Insides matter

Intel’s processors are used in the majority of PCs and laptops in the world, but so far the company has failed to make an impression in the mobile device market. With PC sales in decline and smartphones and tablets flying off the shelves, it comes as no surprise that Intel decided to try its luck in this market once again.

Its main competitor will be ARM Holdings, a British company which designs energy-efficient processors such as Cortex A8, used in iPhone 4; and Cotex A9, used in Samsung Galaxy S II. Intel says its Medfield mobile processor stands up against rivals’ chips in power efficiency and performance.

To see the new Intel silicon in action, it will be necessary to become an Orange customer. Santa Clara will only be available from France Telecom’s mobile unit. It is a mid-range phone aimed at pay-as-you go customers, based on a reference model that Intel created to showcase its processor to potential corporate clients.

Santa Clara will run on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, with a future upgrade to version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It will be powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2460 CPU, accompanied by 1GB of RAM. Large 4.03-inch screen of the smartphone will be protected with Corning Gorilla glass, and support 1024 x 600 resolution. The device also features an HDMI-out and full HD video recording with an eight megapixel camera.

Santa Clara will be manufactured by Gigabyte, with price and date of availability to be confirmed. According to Reuters, both Motorola Mobility and Lenovo have chosen Medfield processors to power their upcoming handsets.

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