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Intel's chip design could be used inside some smartphones in 2017

Chinese chip maker Spreadtrum will make an octa-core smartphone chip, using the Airmont Atom architecture from Intel, that will launch later in 2017.

Published onFebruary 27, 2017

Could you buy a smartphone with Intel inside sometime later in 2017? Maybe, and sort of. While Intel itself is not currently making its own smartphone processor hardware, another company is using Intel’s Atom design to create an octa-core phone chip that is scheduled to become available in the second half of this year.

Qualcomm and Intel reveal LTE modems with 1Gbps download speeds

PCWorld reports that Chinese chip maker Spreadtrum is making its upcoming SC9861G-IA chip for mid-range smartphones. It will be combined with a PowerVR GT7200 graphics core that will allow for displays to support up to 2560 x 1440 resolutions and 4K video. It is based on the x86 Intel Atom Airmont architecture.

Intel is attending this week’s 2017 Mobile World Congress trade show and is showing off smartphones that use the Spreadtrum chip at its booth. In May 2016, the company confirmed it had canceled its plans to release new Atom chips for smartphones, after only a few handset OEMs picked Intel’s processors to go inside their phones.

In a chat with PCWorld, Aicha Evans, Intel’s senior vice president and general manager of its Communication and Devices Group, stated that the company is still open to making smartphone chips again, but added they would also have to include integrated modems. Last week, Intel announced its new XMM 7560 LTE modem, which it claims can handle download speeds “exceeding 1Gbps” and upload speeds up to 225Mbps.

Do you want to see Intel go back to making smartphone processors again, to compete with rivals like Qualcomm, MediaTek and Samsung? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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