Something amazing happened this year, something that didn’t get a lot of attention: Smartphones powered by Intel chips finally hit the market. The Motorola RAZR i was arguably the best one, but it definitely wasn’t the first.
That honor goes to the Indian made Lava XOLO X900. Now just to be clear, what Lava sold to consumers was pretty much an Intel reference design. By that we mean Intel designed a smartphone internally, with a screen, battery, everything, and they then let other companies license that platform. Why do it like that? Two reasons. One, because it makes a handset maker’s job really easy. Two, because Intel wants to make a lot of money, and if they can sell Lava/Motorola more parts, that means more revenue.
According to a new FCC filing, Intel is working on three new smartphones, kind of. Here’s what an official FCC document had to say about the Intel BT210, BT230, and BT510:
“All relevant parts are identical products. The only hardware difference between the products is the naming convention. There are differences in the software from BT210/BT230 and BT510. The BT 210/BT230 only has one SIM port active and BT510 has both SIM ports active.”
Curiously, Intel refers to the BT510 as the “Lava X500”. That should give you a clue as to where this new device is positioned. The X900 had a single core Intel Midfield chip (with HyperThreading enabled) and a screen that pushed 1024 x 600 pixels. According to the Indian website Technology Blogs Simplified, the X500 will have a single core 1.2 GHz processor, 480 x 320 resolution screen, and it’ll run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
Why go low end? Because that’s the market that’s going to see the most growth over the coming years. The Taiwanese supply chain website DigiTimes published an article yesterday that said a third of the smartphones sold in China during Q3 2012 cost less than $160.
That’s the new “hotness”, to use internet parlance.