Intel smartphones don’t have LTE support—yet

We’ve already seen a few smartphones adopt Intel’s new Medfield Atom chips. Motorola’s new Razr i is the latest one, and it looks pretty slick—a lot like Motorola’s own Razr M, in fact. There’s just one catch: none of these phones seem to be headed to the U.S.

According to the guys at TechCrunch, there’s a very good reason for that. The site says Intel has confirmed that current Medfield offerings lack support for LTE connectivity. Intel Product Marketing Director Sumeet Syal says the chipmaker will be "shipping some LTE products later this year and ramping into 2013," so that omission should be rectified soon. But it at least partly explains why the Razr i, for instance, is only launching in Europe and Latin America.

Another barrier to broader adoption is support for third-party Android apps, where Medfield is still lagging behind its ARM-based counterparts to some degree. Intel’s Software and Services Group is working "constantly round the clock to make sure that all these apps work," says Syal, who also told TechCrunch that the "majority" of Android apps are already supported—but he declined to quote any figures.

Syal also told TechCrunch that a dual-core version of Medfield is on the way. (The current silicon is single-core with Hyper-Threading capabilities, which enables two threads.) The dual-core chip will retain HT capabilities, so it should have four threads in total.

Comments closed
    • NeelyCam
    • 8 years ago

    [url<]http://www.gottabemobile.com/2012/09/24/motorola-atrix-atrix-2-photon-4g-ice-cream-sandwich-updates-get-grim-news/[/url<] Dammit. Motorola strikes again. I'm not sure if I should go with that Atrix HD after all.. it might never get Jelly Bean update. I guess Galaxy S3 it is then... I just have to make sure not to use the browser so the phone doesn't get wiped. Do I [i<]really[/i<] have to try Lumia after all..?

    • ShadowTiger
    • 8 years ago

    If Intel manages to get most of the android apps working on x86 and Microsoft launches windows 8 with almost no apps I will laugh real hard.

      • Auril4
      • 8 years ago

      With its expert use of kickbacks, threats, and intimidation, I feel confident Intel will get what it wants sooner rather than later.

    • Vulk
    • 8 years ago

    Hmm. So software compatibility is still an issue. You’re using single core chips still… You don’t have LTE, and even if you do get here the performance isn’t any better than the latest $32 ARM SOC that doesn’t have any compatibility issues… I understand that they percieve this as a low end threat against their business, but how in the hell are they going to compete in this space against companies who aren’t inept and handcuffed like their only competitors in x86 are, and why should I even WANT Intel to do well here, because if they do do well in this space they’ll just crush it and stagnate it… With every year x86 legacy means less as everything goes onto the web with maybe a thin client to host it except games, and even those will probably go that route in the next 4-5 years if WebGL gets fast enough. What’s the upside for the consumer here?

      • jdaven
      • 8 years ago

      Absolutely nothing.

      • blastdoor
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t think we need web-based games to eliminate the need for x86. OpenGL running on ARM-based devices seems to be working just fine.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      For normal consumers, they don’t care what it runs on. They just want “fast enough” performance.

      The issue is for people that make stuff with their PCs. Media creators aren’t going to give up x86 boxes until ARM boxes are quantifiably faster than anything from Intel.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<] how in the hell are they going to compete in this space[/quote<] 1. Access to superior process technology 2. Massive R&D budget 3. Better cost structure 4. x86 performance 5. Hardware security The upside for the consumer is better phones cheaper.

        • jdaven
        • 8 years ago

        The only true point in that list is #1. The rest is completely off.

        2. Apple, Qualcomm, TI, Nvidia. These are the players not ARM. This is being proven time and time again by custom chips that keep going up in performance with the same ARM ISA. The R&D budget of most of these firms rivals if not exceeds (Apple) Intel’s.

        3. I have no idea what that means.

        4. Nope sorry, not in smartphones or tablets. The leaders trade places depending on the benchmark with faster ARM based chips coming out all the time.

        5. Again, I have no idea what that means. Any company can add hardware/software security on many levels to their products.

        Smartphones already range from free to every price increment imaginable on contract. They keep getting faster with more features as the cellphone makers compete fiercely with each other. Intel will add almost nothing if not nothing to this reality.

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          2. None of those exceed Intel in R&D. In 2011:

          Apple: $2.4bil
          Qualcomm: $3.0bil
          Texas Instruments: $1.7bil
          NVidia: $1.0bil

          All those [i<]combined[/i<] is less than Intel's R&D of $8.4bil, and note that those R&D budgets are competing against each other... You'd need to add add TSMC's $1.1bil into that to be able to barely pass Intel's budget. 3. Intel can make chips much cheaper than Apple/Qualcomm/TI/NVidia because a) Intel chips will be smaller (thanks to the process advantage), b) Intel doesn't have to pay margins to third-party foundry like TSMC, and c) Intel doesn't have to pay royalties to ARM 4. Even Intel's ages-old Atom architecture can trade punches with brand-new ARM architectures (and before you say "A6 is faster", note that A6 is dual-core.. Intel can add more cores too). Moreover, Intel has plenty of patented x86 performance tricks in its bag of goodies that it hasn't used on Atom yet. Next year the updated Atom architecture will come out, and "trading places" will cease - Intel will be the clear performance leader. 5. Intel is ahead in the integrated hardware/software security game because they own McAfee. [quote<]Smartphones already range from free to every price increment imaginable on contract. [/quote<] Don't let the contract price fool you - phones cost quite a bit. Intel can undercut everyone in price while offering better performance.

    • NeelyCam
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]According to the guys at TechCrunch, there's a very good reason for that. The site says Intel has confirmed that current Medfield offerings lack support for LTE connectivity.[/quote<] I thought everybody knew this already.. Next year's dual-core version (H1/2013?) will have LTE support. My upgrade next month will be S3, HTC One X or Atrix HD. Apparently they are all pretty wide now (Atrix 4G was smaller.. which I like).. HTC One has no microSD, which probably means it's out of the race. S3 is pretty pricey, while Atrix HD comes with only 8GB (Atrix 4G is 16GB). Overall, looking at the specs, Atrix HD still looks like it checks all the right boxes, and it's a lot cheaper than S3.. but it doesn't seem like such an upgrade from Atrix 4G..

      • brucethemoose
      • 8 years ago

      You should wait for A15 based phones to come out first. Krait is nice, but the Adreno 320 chips are about to come out, Apple’s A6 is already better, and OMAP 5/Exynos are likely to be better than that.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        Yeah – it’s ironic that, after lagging for so long, Apple suddenly has the top-dog phone hardware. I still can’t switch to Apple – the need to use iTunes is a major turnoff. Plus, the cost of memory is a bit annoying. And, overall, the familiarity with Android makes it less likely that I’ll switch to any other OS. Every time I use my iPod Touch I feel a bit lost..

        When would the A15 phones come out..? If I have to wait well into next year, I might as well wait for Intel’s dual-core LTE entry. Also, the LTE modem integration in Krait-based phones is attractive – I’m not sure if Exynos/OMAP can beat that.

      • DancinJack
      • 8 years ago

      I’d buy the Atrix HD out of those too if I had to pick up a phone next month.

      Have you not considered dumping ATT?

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        I’ve considered it, but I haven’t had problems with AT&T. TMobile still doesn’t have a good signal where I live, and Verizon signal suck at work. Also, if I switch to a different carrier, I would have to wait longer for an upgrade, as AT&T lets me upgrade at the 19-month point of my 24-month contract.

          • DancinJack
          • 8 years ago

          So does VZW. At least they let me. Have you thought about going prepaid?

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Of the major carriers, only TMobile is offering prepaid, right? Bad signal at my house.. I guess I could get one of those micro-basestations or whatever they call them, but they really should be handing them out FOR FREE

            Prepaid wouldn’t score me LTE either, right?

            • DancinJack
            • 8 years ago

            Yeah, no LTE on prepaid. You don’t really need it with HSPA+ though. I don’t know if any other major carriers have prepaid, sorry. You could look into the smaller MVNOs though.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      what happened to the 920? or 8x?

        • DancinJack
        • 8 years ago

        They run WP8. That’s what happened. 🙂

        e: The 920 has no microSD either. The 8X does apparently.

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          the 8x does have sd. so does the 820, ativ, 8s, actually, pretty much every phone but the 920 has an sd card.
          wp8 looks great. i’ll take it over android anyday.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            8x doesn’t have microSD:

            [url<]http://thedroidguy.com/2012/09/htc-unveils-new-windows-phone-8x-with-beats-audio/[/url<] Funny: [url<]http://www.pc-tablet.com/6648-nokia-sue-htc-8x-windows-phone-8-smartphone-design-copied-lumia-820/[/url<] [quote<]"Nokia has said in reports that the front-face of HTC 8X looks identically same as of the Lumia 820"[/quote<] Well, duh - they are both Windows phones! Half the Android phones look largely identical..

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        Like DancinJack said, 920 has no microSD, so it got dropped. 820..? What would I give up?

        Overall, although WP8 might be nice, Android is comfortably familiar. It’s like old shoes…

          • DancinJack
          • 8 years ago

          You’d give up WP8. Remember not a single current WP smartphone will get WP8.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            Lumia 820 will have WP8:

            [url<]http://www.anandtech.com/show/6234/nokia-lumia-920-820[/url<] Compared to Atrix HD, Lumia 820 would mean lower screen resolution (in fact, it would be worse than what I have now with the original Atrix). Pricing is probably in the same ballpark (subsidized Atrix HD goes for $29 at Amazon Wireless).

            • DancinJack
            • 8 years ago

            Whoops. I was thinking about the 900.

    • DancinJack
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t know why more emphasis isn’t placed on cell radios. Some companies just do it better than others. I can’t wait to try out some Infineon love on an Intel phone. I hope, for all our sake, that Intel releases Infineon drivers on more than just Intel based phones in the future.

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