If you own a modern smartphone, chances are it runs on an ARM based processor from manufacturers like Qualcomm or Texas Instruments. These processors are low power compared to those inside a computer, and offer less performance. Mobile operating system don’t require all that much power, and the low power usage makes ARM processors ideal for mobile phones.
Intel is a manufacturer of powerful PC processors, using an architecture called x86. They use plenty of energy, but can offer amazing amounts of processing power. Due to the energy constraints, these processors have stayed out of the mobile phone market, with a few odd models here and there in the tablet market. The tablets that have been available were sluggish, with poor battery life.
Over the past couple of months Intel has been aiming to change that, with the development of the Medfield processor line. We’ve seen some test handsets here and there, which have supposedly offered amazing performance. However, we have had little to no idea when the first handsets may drop. That’s where Motorola steps in.
Early today there was a leak of a new Android 4.0 phone made by Motorola, featuring the latest version of MotoBlur. What made this leak so special is the fact that the handset contains Intel silicon. This is both good and bad. First the good. From what I’ve heard, the Medfield processors offer fantastic performance. In benchmarks, they have been faster than any other mobile processor available, despite only offering one core. But not everything is as good as it sounds.
I’ve also heard multiple times that Intel has been having trouble keeping energy consumption down. In other words, the processor uses a lot of battery life. One of the main things that has pushed me towards other operating systems is the battery life most Android handsets have offered. Recently that has changed, and I’ve been able to make it through a full day on an Android handset. With Intel’s offerings, that may not be possible.
What use is a handset that can’t survive long enough to make use of all that extra processing power? If the phone can’t make it though the day, then the phone is worthless to me. I really want to get a handset powered by an Intel chip, but it will need the battery life to become my daily driver. My eyes will be on Intel and Motorola next month, as I want to see what they can come up with. What do you think of Intel and Motorola’s latest offerings? Is all that extra power really worth horrible battery life? Let us know in the comments!