In an interview at the IDF 2012, Mike Bell, Intel’s Vice President and General Manager – Mobile Computer Group said, “I’m running it.” The VP also revealed that many of Intel’s employees were also using Medfield smartphones loaded with Jelly Bean.
Intel’s presence in the smartphone market has been next to negligible with very few vendors offering an Intel based smartphone. This particular vertical is dominated by ARM which finds its chips in almost all smartphones out there; even on the newly launched iPhone 5.
As of now only five companies offer smartphones powered by Intel chips – Orange, ZTE, Lava International, Lenovo and Megafon. It is expected that Motorola may announce an Intel based handset next week in London.
Bell said, “A year ago people were saying ‘can Intel do a smartphone?’ and now people are saying ‘how long till you [grow]?’ It’s a much better question to deal with.”
All the Intel based smartphones currently run Gingerbread or Ice Cream Sandwich. The VP said that it is not up to Intel to put Jelly Bean on the phones. It is carriers’ or device manufacturers’ job. “We can’t put it on the phones. We have to give it to the carriers to put on the phones and they go through acceptance testing,” Bell said.
One of the main reasons behind Intel chips not being used in smartphones or similar mobile devices for that matter is that they are considered to be power hungry as compared to ARM chips. Intel is reportedly working towards stripping the “power-hungry” tag from its chips with the release of a new low-power Atom chip code-named Merrifield for high-end smartphones.
As of now Intel is not only focusing on Android based smartphones and Windows 8 based tablets, it is also looking forward to Linux-based Tizen OS for a variety of mobile devices such as smartphones, in-car entertainment devices, etc.