SAN FRANCISCO -- Multiple handset makers will ship next year Android phones using Intel's x86 chips, vowed Intel chief executive Paul Otellini in a keynote speech at IDF. Intel and Google expanded their collaboration to deliver optimized versions of Android on x86 to enable the handsets.
The pledge marks the latest twist in Intel's long road to finding significant design wins in the booming mobile market. Years ago it worked on an integrated applications processor with flash that failed to gain traction, and more recently it worked with Nokia to design a handset using Atom and MeeGo mobile Linux software.
Under new CEO Stephen Elop, Nokia shifted its plans to using Windows Phone 7 and ARM. "In Q4 2011 [the Atom/Meego handsets] were supposed to ship from Nokia, so we've lost six months, but we found new customers and we are off and running," said Otelli ni in a press Q&A.
"The smartphone business is not established, and the ultimate shakeout is yet to come for who wins and looses so good products can still make a difference and we hope to be one of them," he added.
"Meego is still alive and well in embedded and the automotive industry where it’s a major asset for us," Otellini added.
"We also are working with hardware vendors around the world to optimize [Meego] for tablets and phones," he said. "There remains a continuing interest among handset makers and carriers to have an additional ecosystem that is open and that is the value proposition for Meego," he said.
Google's vice president of mobile, Andy Rubin, briefly joined Otellini on stage here to discuss the company's collaboration. There were few details given except to say the companies will deliver versions of Android optimized for the x86 from the lowest to the highest levels of the software stack.
Otellini also showed working versions of a smartphone reference design based on the Medfield version of Atom and a Medfield tablet running the Honeycomb version of Android. The company had shown the smartphone reference design at an analyst meeting.
Otellini was upbeat but candid about Intel's chances in handsets.