With the Mobile World Congress in full swing across the Atlantic, Intel has announced a series of Atom processors targeted at smartphones. The most interesting of these is the Z2460, which is based on the 32-nm Atom core otherwise known as Medfield. This chip is a single-core design with a 1.6GHz peak clock speed and Hyper-Threading support. An integrated GPU provides a modicum of 3D horsepower, while video blocks enable 1080p video decoding and encoding at up to 30 FPS.
The Z2460 will hit Europe this summer inside a "Santa Clara" smartphone sold by Orange. The phone is based on Intel's reference design, which sports a 4" screen and dimensions of 123 x 63 x 10 mm. Although that's slightly larger than an iPhone in every respect, Apple's latest smartphone is 23 grams heavier. Curiously, there's no mention of the device's battery life. More surprising is the assertion that it'll run the Gingerbread version of Android upon release. An ICS update is coming after the official launch, but if that isn't happening until this summer, the first Atom smartphone might be well behind the OS curve.
If the Z2460 isn't fast enough for your needs, the Atom Z2580 offers dual cores and purportedly double the performance. That model won't begin sampling until the end of the year, though. Actual products based on the chip aren't expected until next year.
For less exotic smartphones, Intel is prepping the Atom Z2000. This single-core chip is built using the same 32-nm process as the others, but its clock speed tops out at an even 1GHz, and there's no mention of Hyper-Threading. Like the Z2580, the budget chip is slated to begin sampling this year but not pop up in consumer devices until 2013.
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