The first smartphone running on an Intel processor will hit the market later this week, reportedly in India.
Speaking to reporters and analysts in a conference call to announce the giant chip maker's first-quarter financial results, Intel CEO Paul Otellini outlined the key points the company expects to hit as 2012 wears onparticularly in the mobile spacefrom more than 100 new Ultrabook designs to more devices powered by next-generation "Ivy Bridge" processors.
"We expect to see another important milestone for our business later this week: the launch of the world's first Intel architecture-based smartphone," Otellini said.
He noted the announcements Intel executives made with Lenovo and Motorola Mobility at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, in which the two device makers said they planned to sell smartphones this year powered by Intel's Atom X2460 "Medfield" platform. At the Mobile World Congress show in February, Intel made similar announcements with ZTE and Orange.
Otellini declined to elaborate on what the new phone would be. However, according to reports, the phone will come from Lava International and will be available in India. Quoting an unnamed source, IDG News said the Xolo X900 will be powered by a single Atom Z2460 chip and feature a 4.03-inch screen. Intel and Lava initially announced the phone during the Mobile World Congress show.
For the quarter, Intel made $2.7 billion in the first three months of 2012 on revenue of $12.9 billion. By comparison, during the same period last year, Intel earned $3.16 billion on $12.85 billion in revenue. Revenue for Intel's PC Client Groupwhich includes chips for PCs, tablets and smartphonesfell from $8.62 billion in the first quarter of 2011 to $8.45 billion this year, and its Data Center Group, which sells server chips, saw its revenue stay flat, at $2.45 billion.
Mobility was a key theme running throughout the discussion of Intel's first-quarter financial numbers. Company officials for more than a year have talked about making an aggressive push into the mobile computing space, challenging chip designer ARM Holdings' dominance in the lucrative smartphone and tablet markets. This will be the year that Intel makes that push.
The chip maker over the next few months will roll out more 22-nanometer Ivy Bridge chips that will be used to power the next round of Ultrabooks and make their way into tablets. In addition, the Atom Medfield chips also will be found in some tablets, as well as smartphones, according to the company.
The Ivy Bridge chipsthe first quad-core versions already are shipping in volume, primarily for desktops, and will be followed by other versions for laptops and Ultrabooksare expected to offer better performance and significantly greater power efficiency and graphics capabilities than the current "Sandy Bridge" offerings.
Beau Skonieczny, an analyst with Technology Business Research (TBR), said the Ivy Bridge chips will be key drivers for Intel in 2012, even as the uncertainty continues to dog Intel-based Ultrabooks and mobile devices.
"[T]he quad-core iterations of Ivy Bridge will appeal mostly to enterprises and SMB customers looking to adopt all-in-one desktops," Skonieczny wrote in an email. "However, TBR believes dual-core Ivy Bridge processorswhich will shortly follow the quad-core versionswill drive more rapid growth for Intel, as demand for notebooks and premium Ultrabooks continues to grow."