ZTE Intel-Based Smartphone Hitting European Market Next Month

The Chinese phone maker becomes the latest vendor to offer an Intel-based smartphone, following on the heels of Lenovo, Orange and Lava. Reportedly up next: Motorola.

ZTE has become the latest phone maker to unveil a smartphone powered by Intel technology, introducing the Grand X IN device that will begin selling in Europe next month.

The Grand X IN, announced Aug. 30 at the IFA 2012 show in Berlin, will be powered by Intel's Atom Z2460 Medfield processor and will run Google's Android 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich, operating system. The smartphone's rollout comes six months after officials with Intel and ZTE announced at the Mobile World Congress show that the Chinese phone maker would make smartphones based on Intel's low-power Atom platform.

With the Grand X IN, ZTE will join several other phone makers-Lenovo, Orange and Lava International-in putting Intel-based devices on the market. In addition, Motorola Mobility-now owned by Google-has promised smartphones running on Intel processors. Motorola reportedly is expected to launch its own Intel-powered smartphone during an event Sept. 18 in London.

Like those phones from Lenovo, Orange and Lava, ZTE's Grand X IN will sell outside the United States, with no word on whether it will reach North America.Lava's XOLO X900 is being sold in India, for example, while Orange's Santa Clara is offered in Europe.

ZTE's device is the latest step by Intel in its efforts to gain a foothold in the booming mobile device space. The majority of smartphones and tablets currently are powered by the low-power chip designs of ARM Holdings and made by the likes of Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Samsung Electronics and Nvidia. Unlike the stagnant PC market-which Intel dominates-the mobile phone space continues to expand, and Intel executives see it as a prime growth area.

Intel officials are looking to the company's x86-based Atom chips-which were first introduced several years ago for netbooks-to be the technology that drives its growth in the smartphone space. The Atom chips also are expected to be used in some tablets.

Intel executives expect to be a strong player in the market.

"Intel doesn't go into markets to be a small player," CFO Stacy Smith said in April, just as Lava was launching the XOLO X900. "It's a billion-unit market, so there's huge opportunity for us."

However, ARM officials have downplayed Intel's efforts, conceding that the giant chip maker will find some traction in the space, but arguing that the x86 architecture and Intel's business model don't align well with the mobile computing trend.

ZTE officials apparently believe otherwise. Their Grand X IN reportedly will offer a 4.3-inch display with 960-by-540 resolution, along with an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 0.3MP front-facing camera and a custom user interface for the Android OS. The device will support high-definition video and voice and Bluetooth 2.1, as well as Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) and WiFi, including the 802.11n standard. It also will feature near-field communication technology and GPS.