Motorola Mobility and Lenovo (聯想) on Tuesday said they would use Intel processors in smartphones and other devices, giving the chipmaker its first entry into a market it has long coveted.
Intel Corp has struggled to bring down the power consumption of its chips so that they can be used in phones without draining the battery in a matter of hours. Meanwhile, phone-style chips from other manufacturers are starting to encroach on Intel’s PC chips, by becoming the chips of choice for tablet computers.
Lenovo Group Ltd will be first out the gate, with a smartphone called K800 for the Chinese carrier Unicom (中國聯通) in the second quarter, said Liu Jun (劉軍), a senior vice president at the company. The phone will have a 4.5 inch touch screen, will use Google Inc’s Android software for smartphones and tablets and will be able to stream video to TV sets equipped with Intel’s Wireless Display technology.
Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc CEO Sanjay Jha said he would have Intel-powered phones in testing this summer and ready for consumers a few months later. He did not provide any details about the Intel-powered devices, except to say that they would use Android. Motorola Mobility is set to be acquired by Google.
Intel said the phones would be able to run most applications straight from Google’s Android Market. Usually, switching to another processor family means applications will not run, but Intel said it has a way around that obstacle.
Microsoft Corp dealt Intel a blow last year by announcing that it would release its new operating system, Windows 8, in one version for Intel-style chips and another for phone-style chips that are based on designs from Britain’s ARM Holdings PLC.
Windows has run exclusively on Intel-type chips since the mid-1990s. Analysts expect ARM Windows to be used mainly for tablets when Windows 8 goes on sale late this year.
Separately, Nintendo Co’s upcoming Wii U game console will come with a controller that has a big, touch-enabled screen. At first glance, that seems like an obstacle to the kind of casual multiplayer gaming that made the first Wii console such a breakout hit.
However, in demonstrations on Tuesday, the company emphasized that the Wii U would work with the cheaper, stick-like Wii controllers as well, making family multiplayer games feasible.
Nintendo said the device would go on sale after the next Electronic Entertainment Expo gaming trade show in Los Angeles in June. The Wii U will be sold as a bundle with one touch-screen controller, which is almost as big as the game console itself. Nintendo has not said what the package or an extra controller would cost.
Touch screens are expensive, often accounting for nearly half of the cost of a phone or a tablet computer.