Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t work on the new Motorola RAZR i

by: ŠtefanSeptember 19, 2012

Motorola, who is owned by Google, announced a new smartphone yesterday called the RAZR i. It’s basically the RAZR M that’s currently available on Verizon Wireless in the United States, but with an Intel chip inside. We know it’s supposed to be fast and all that jazz, but at what cost? How’s the battery life? Will apps in the Google Play Store run seamlessly despite the different architecture? We’re going to find all that out when we get a chance to review the phone, but we’re already getting some hints that all is not well in the land of Intel. Our friends at Android Central recently tried installing Google’s Chrome browser on the RAZR i, and guess what, it doesn’t work. Ignoring the fact that this “Google Phone” doesn’t run the latest version of Android for a second, now we have to deal with it not even running Google’s own software!

What does Google have to say about all this? They haven’t issued a statement yet, but Motorola has, and it says: “There is not a version available that is optimised for Intel. We expect it at in-store launch or shortly thereafter.”

This brings up an important question: Are you ready to be Google’s guinea pig for this whole Android on Intel project? You’ll get a fast phone, there’s no doubt about it, but is it worth the incompatibilities and other potential issues? Looking at the top five smartphone vendors as of Q2 2012, the only one on that list making an Intel phone is ZTE. Their Intel device, the Grand X IN, is supposed to land on store shelves this month, so technically it’s not even shipping. If the world’s five biggest smartphone makers aren’t supporting Intel’s attempt to enter the smartphone market, should you?

  • FARCrow

    Google are not doing themselves any favors releasing a phone that doesn’t ship with Jelly Bean and now we find out that it doesn’t run their own software. And here I was hoping to see some high quality Android smart phones from Motorola after their acquisition by Google.

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      To be fair, I think they’re going to deliver, just not this year. It takes time to put the right people in place and all that jazz.

  • raindog469

    So now “Intel-optimized” is just a euphemism for “it runs”? How low does the bar have to be set?

    I won’t touch Android on Intel in the foreseeable future, just as I won’t touch Android on MIPS and my company didn’t spring for Windows NT on PowerPC in the mid-90s. When most of the software available for an operating system is proprietary, and SDKs for native code exist, its availability will naturally favor one architecture. In the case of Android, it’s ARM. I’d love to be free of dependencies on proprietary software, but unlike the Richard Stallmans of the world, I can’t dictate terms to my clients or suppliers. I can’t gamble that in the next two years, I’ll never run into something I need to run that’s incompatible with Intel.

    The only thing tempting me about the prospect of Atom-based phones is the possibility that someone will get a phone-optimized version of Ubuntu working on them… and that’s not anywhere near enough for me to drop a couple hundred bucks on a phone and commit to a 2-year contract. Maybe Google will somehow pull off cross-CPU instruction translation someday, but it’s clear from their own flagship browser’s incompatibility without a rebuild that they haven’t done it yet.

  • i thought it came pre-installed i must be wrong