Intel Patiently Waits For Android 4.0 Before Releasing First x86 Smartphone Next Year


Intel is patiently waiting for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to drop before releasing smartphones and tablets equipped with their processors. Adding to list of Android 4.0’s not highly publicized “features,” Ice Cream Sandwich is finally Intel x86 ready and the manufacturer hopes to have their first x86 powered smartphone launch sometime in the first half of next year.

Currently, Android is mostly “ARM friendly,” providing chipset makers like Nvidia, Samsung and Qualcomm with a cashcow that just keeps on giving. ARM is one of Intel’s biggest competitors and it’s going to take a lot of magic for Intel to catch up in a market ARM currently dominates.

Before Android, Intel had their efforts focused on the now defunct MeeGo OS. According to reports, Intel has been working closely with Google to make up for lost time and Android 4.0’s compatibility is a result of that.

I’m excited to see what OEM’s will be packing their devices with Intel’s mobile processors. If there’s one thing that’s good for consumers (and Android) it’s competition. Bring it, Intel!

[Via ComputerWorld]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Don’t google TVs use Intel chips? this bodes well for those being able to get 4.0 some day

    1. Yes, but it’s the last you’ll see of them. Intel has just announced they are getting out of the TV market, and that’s probably because all future Google TV devices will have ARM chips.

      1. Intel is not in the TV market, it’s the individual manufacturers who are.  And if Android is available on x86 then it gives more choices to the TV manufacturers.

  2. We need x64 architecture android. That would be so badass lol.

    1. I’m sure it’s coming! :D

    2. the next version of ARM (forget what it’s called) is confirmed to be 64 bit. ;)

  3. Rather have AMD than Intel.

    Intel should go down with MS

    1. I’d rather have AMD too, but while no fan of Intel, given their presence in tech, anything they do with Google will only help Android, so more power to them. Well not too much power, I still remember the Pentium 3 (which was my reason for no longer using intel machines).

    2. I had a Phenom in my desktop that was just great. I can’t complain about my i7 either though. This is like the MSFT vs AAPL, Android vs iOS, and all the other debates of its kind. Not without merit, but never ending :)

    3. um, why? o_O i’ve never had issues with Intel anything, but AMD chips have given me no end of trouble, and don’t get me started on the horror that is AMD graphics. *shudders*

      1. Really? What type of AMD chipsets were you buying? My daily drivers are an AMD Phenom II x4 and a Phenom II x6 and they work very well for me. Like Scott Colbert mentioned, I also jumped from Intel long ago ( around the P3 days, my old Win98SE computer ran on an Athlon ) and I’ve been quite happy with AMD since. Even overclocked above 4GHz, I’ve had no problems performance or graphics-wise. Buy top-shelf chipsets and graphics cards. You shouldn’t run an Nvidia TNT64 graphics card on a 3+GHz quad or hexacore chipset. Or maybe you had bad luck; regardless of how tight quality control is, a POS will inevitably get by sometime in any industry.

        1. Taken a closer look at recent Bulldozer benchmarks?

          1. And he’d see that they may not be class leading, but they are still great processors.

            You don’t have to be the fastest for people to like it. More people drive Civics then Ferrari’s.

            Oh, and the fastest GPU is AMD :D 

            I certainly wasn’t implying that Intel chipsets are garbage – not at all. I was just pointing out to Matthew that he may have got a lemon (it happens in cars, chipsets, televisions, medical doctors, patents lawyers, etc.)  or was running a low-end AMD chipset, or a sub-par graphics card. While I do look at benchmarks, they don’t tell the whole story – just as the clock speed doesn’t. I know the Intel i7 family of processors are very good – I bought my son a computer with an Intel i7, but Matthew indicated that he had no end of trouble with an AMD processor and that AMD graphics are a horror.
            I don’t know what kind of graphics card he was using, what type of AMD chipset, what type of memory, or even what he was using his computer for, but I’ve never had a bad experience with AMD (which doesn’t mean it rules just because they work great for me –  I know two people over the past ten or twelve years who have had problems with their Athlons, but they’ve had their chipsets or computers replaced, and everything was fine afterwards).  We use a lot of AMD-based computers at work – as well as Intel, and some non-commercial chipsets, of the AMD/Intel, I prefer the AMDs, but not by a lot.
             The older of my two daily drivers is a Phenom II x4 945 chipset; stock @3GHz -easily overclocked to a stable 4.0 – 4.2GHz without secondary or tertiary coolant systems and it only has an ATI Radeon HD 5970 graphics card – certainly not a top-of-the-line graphics card, but it runs Mathematica animations and Mathematica-based graphic simulations very smoothly.  The few computer games I do play (I’m more of a console guy in that area with the exception of my old emulators) look and play very smoothly with no lag,bizarre artifacts or texture map/shading problems).
            I’m also not saying that AMD>>Intel. Honestly, most people would never even know the difference between chipsets in the same class. Perhaps it’s a matter of what you’re doing with your computer.  Set up correctly, I can run Mathematica7 and M8 and get results equal to, but usually faster than a comparable Intel chipset without overclocking.
            In Mathematica, you can time how long any calculation or operation takes in the kernel, rendering, etc. and AMDs are easier to overclock . Again, to be fair, I’ve been using only AMDs in my own computers since the late 90s, so I’m more familiar with AMD.
            With all of that said, I am glad to see Intel get in on Android, I’d like to see AMD take a shot at it as well, competition drives innovation, and Intel and AMD both have  the brainpower and resources to make a kick-ass chipset for Android. Also, I may be wrong, but I thought I had read several months ago that Google was going to start to require ARM-based processors?
            Cool screen name, BTW! MST3K is a favorite of mine. I was glad to see that they’ve a lot of them on Netflix.

          3. PCs with AMD graphics i’ve used/worked on = 
            *roughly 10 your old single core PCs (they all overheated and burned out, no overclocking)
            *midrange dell laptop ~3 yrs old (buggy since day one, cascade motherboard failure) 
            *~2 year old desktops with upper mid range dual/tri core cpus (would not ever ultilize multicores for anything, horrid overall performance), 
            *high end AMD Athalon from last year (was supposed to be = to a first gen i7, a mobile i3 outperformed it, and the thing runs so hot it heats up the entire room)

            all have been used for day-to-day email, web browsing, and text editing, with light 2d CAD work thrown in. exception being the last one on the list, dedicated to 3d CAD work. 

            AMD/ATI GPU’s in computers i’ve worked on:
            *about 2 1/2 year old vista desktop, midrange gaming card (GPU burned out)
            *various low-mid discrete graphics on laptops (graphics performance was worse than intel integrated iCore graphics)
            *top of the line ATI Radeon GPU, 2GB VRAM that had been bought for a PC to run Autodesk Revit, PC had sandy bridge i7  (horrid performance, 3 year old discrete geforce ran better with the program, constant driver conflicts, lockups, ect. replaced with a 1 year old midrange geforce, works like a dream)

            i have never had a problem with an intel chipset. they are hearty, reliable, and very powerful. the integrated graphics are surprisingly good. 

            Only nvidia issues i have ever had were with old discrete graphics chips, and those issues were fixed with a driver update. 

            I fail to see what anyone could ever find good about an AMD chip. sure, they look nice on paper, but their performance and reliability is absolute crap. 

      2. Second that on the CPUs. Disagree about graphics though.

    4. LOL! Intel isn’t going anywhere son, Intel has been making processors since before you were born! And Intel’s i7, i5, and i3 are some of the most widely used and powerful (If you’re talking the i7) chips put out on the market to date. Especially the 2nd gen i7. You better not look in your rear-view mirror, because you’ll see Intel speeding ahead with new chips for our very own Android.

    5. AMD would just bring Android to x86 when everyone else is fine with ARM.
      Intel brings a powerful force into the Android camp that just happens to use the x86 architecture.

    6. Ya because Bulldozer is such a success. I like AMD, but they cant compete with intel.

  4. Please turn off the pop up ads.

    They’re very annoying, and when I visit this site on my Evo, I’m unable to close the pop up due to a second pop up ad.

    1. I wish I could turn them off.. but then I’d be out of a job. 

      Have you tried downloading the Phandroid app? Its fast and works great. It’s the only way I view the site from my phone.

      1. I use that app daily on my phone to check both the news and the forums for my phone

      2. The app is a major resource hog. It always runs in the background and Watchdog regularly says its taking up more than 50% of cpu when its not open. I dont have it set to sync news or anything either. That said, I still use it.

      3. While the app is nice for reading, the comment area is awful. Nothing seems to be in order, you can’t reply to a specific comment-I won’t even go into the mess that is the forums.

        But no pop ups lol. 

        1. I love the app, of all the apps I have to view blogs like this, Phandroid is the only one with a comment section viewable from the app. un-like others I have such as the Engadget or AndroidCentral apps. The comment section is half the entertainment of the article, IMO.

      4. why not give on the app since its honestly not really great and just push out a mobile version of the site? That way you don’t have to worry about bug fixes and what not and most importantly your adds can be better tailored for a mobile device.

        1. I’ll second this.  A site relating to a mobile operating system that doesn’t have a mobile version is pretty poor.

      5. Chris, We are fine with Ads. Just not the very obnoxious pop up ads. Can’t you just turn off the pop up ads? I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request. In the long term, it’s going to cost you page views.

        I certainly close the page and go to the other android websites when this happens.

      6. Really? This site gets so little traffic that the popup ads are the only income? Wow…that’s funny.

      7. pop-up ads don’t hamper my phone. :/

      8. Be real man, the app sucks. None of the comments are in the correct order. You cannot zoom in on images, only the size of the text – the image stays the same size (which is usually too small for reading). You can’t reply to specific comments. Please just create a mobile site. This comes a couple days after you posted the story on Google trying to help websites go mobile. The irony.

      9. Rather than turning them off, why don’t you fix the way they are displayed on the mobile site?

        Rather than a popup, why not have them at the top of the page.

        I don’t think anyone is saying to turn the ads off, just fix the issue you can’t close them when viewing the site via the browser on an android phone.

        Not everyone wants an app to view the site, this isn’t iOS you know :)

      10. You’ll be out of a job when people stop coming here, there wont be any ad revenue if you have no traffic. I would seriously recommend sponsored reviews.

      11. please, can we not get this excuse, the “we can’t survive without ads” stuff? All it says is “we don’t know how to run a website”. give people ways/reasons to donate to phandroid and they will do so. Hint: annoying ads is not that way. Hell, you can (and do) adsense and that doesn’t require popups.

      12. Chris, I use the app every day, but I hate it! Come on guys, do the UI redesign and make fonts adjustable everywhere. With my poor vision I can hardly read comments in there. And polls never work. It’s all under CM7 loaded on Nook Color. Oh, and this is the ONLY app that makes CM7’s status bar crash. So I do use it, but just because of Phandroid news withdrawals.

      13. If I downloaded an app for every site I frequent, my phone would have nothing but site apps.

        How about you just style the pop-up so that it’s not so large that it can’t easily be closed on a phone? It’s a 30-second fix.

        I’ve said it before, and will no doubt say it again: It’s ironic that the ONLY site I have trouble viewing on my phone is one dedicated to phones like mine.

    2. This is the only way you can view the site unfortunately with the browser. I don’t care if they use the ads, just make it so I can exit the damn things.

    3. Yes this, the ads are impossible to close when viewing from your phone, It’s easier to go to a different site than it is to close the ads.

      1. Agree the ads are such a pain and damn near impossible to close from a phone.

    4. I use Pulse.  Works great.

    5. Yes this website is broken on android phones…… bad form really from an android site!!

  5. Ok… I could see the wine project making its way over to Android  for x86 chips. That will be interesting.

  6. Super excited for this smartphone… Will definitely get one as soon as it is release.

  7. but the big question – will every app that can run on a standard arm-based android device be able to run in a x86 android device?

    or will it be like windows (god i hope not) in that arm and x86 programs are not cross compatible at all? :/

    1. Technically, the applications run inside the Davlik virtual machine, so it’s processor independant. But I believe you can use some native code to speed up things. Any app that uses native code would have to be recompiled to add x86 support.

      1. Zomby2D is correct. Since Android runs most apps in the Dalvik virtual machine, the Dalvik VM just needs ported to x86 and it will perform the necessary translation of code. Some apps use the SDK like Firefox and those will need to be ported over, but if someone bothered with using the SDK in the first place, porting to x86 shouldn’t be much of an issue.

  8. Intel is going to push Android over 70% marketshare. You’re going to see some REALLY aggressively priced phones coming up. 

    1. Are Intel processors cheaper?  

      1. They have the ability to mass produce cheap chips AND market them (Intel Atom)

      2. I disagree that the CPU is the main reason the phones are costly, this is incorrect, pricing on the ARM CPU units are cheap compared to totoal phone cost.

        That said, Intel wants into the market, ARM is king now and the only way into the market is to come in with a better product, which intel doesn’t have, or reduce the price to crazy levels. Which intel can do, with loads of cash in the bank, they can drive the market over to intel on discounted CPU’s.

        Once you have market share, you can ramp up your costs.

        With samsung using there own ARM CPU’s I would be shocked if they move over to intel, but if it means selling phones, then I guess so!

  9. Intel is going to dominate the rest of the competitors. I honestly don’t see how the rest of the competitors, such as Nvidia, will compete against Intel once they start making phones with their own chips and perfecting it.

  10. I still think x86 support for Android will open a backdoor for Microsoft and Windows to become popular on tablets. x86 is Microsoft’s strength, not Android. Android’s strength is ARM, and Microsoft is vulnerable on ARM, with no apps. So why would Google willingly make Microsoft’s best partner popular in this mobile market? As soon as Intel gets in the game, and people start thinking Atom is a good alternative to ARM, Intel will ditch Android for Windows (or rather not focus so much on it).

    That being said, I don’t think Intel Atom can catch-up with ARM.It still has fans, and it will only be on 22nm and fanless at the end of 2013, when it’s still supposed to get only a 25-30% performance improvement compared to current Atom chips. A 30% increase in 2 years. ARM will go way past that by then. Plus the ultra-low power Cortex A7 is coming by the end of next year, making Atom look even worse when comparing power consumption. I’m more excited about Cortex A15 next year, which is supposed to have Core 2 Duo performance levels according to Anandtech, with is significantly less power consumption than Atom. And don’t even expect a dual core Atom in smartphones next year. It will be single core only.

    1. I like Intel for desktop processors but even the Atom consumes a lot of power. Intel has a lot of work ahead of it….but If Intel gets into the smartphone business, get ready for 3000 mAh batteries! 

      1. and yet even with 3000 mah battery, it will be flat by lunch!

    2. I think you underestimate and misunderstand Intel’s intentions. First off, Intel has gobs of money to keep throwing stuff at the wall until it sticks. Even if they don’t match the efficiency of ARM processors at first, they’ll just try harder and invest more money. The smartphone market is a big market, and Intel no doubt wants a large part of that pie and will be willing to spend a lot to get it.

      Second, Intel is doing this because they want market share. They’re not going to promote Android and then ditch it for Windows on tablets unless Windows on tablets or phones becomes more popular. Sure, Windows is what they know, but Intel could care less whats running on their chips as long as its selling. A chip sold is a chip sold, no matter if its running Android, Windows, or whatever. Intel is investing in Android because its massively popular and their old dance partner, Microsoft, isn’t making the sort of moves Intel would like to see. Intel will focus on whats selling best. I think Android will continue to dominate smartphones, the tablet market will split between Android and Windows (and obviously the iPad), and Windows will continue to dominate PC’s. Intel will thus devote a lot of time and money to both platforms.

      1. OK we understand why Intel wants to do this. But Google had to work to support x86 and that’s the question.

        1. Do some research and you will see google and intel did some deals a while ago, with intel kicking in some kickbacks to the hardware OEM for using intel CPUs, its the reason that google TV is running an intel CPU (when its running android!) Plus google chromebooks are running intel.

  11. It is stupid to implement x86 into mobile devices. Architecture and technology of x86 family will consume your battery very fast. Yes, maybe devices will be slightly faster, than on ARM, but the costs!
    And the quadcore ARM SoC from Nvidia will beat any x86 system in the main – PPR (performance per watt).

    x86 must die! definitely.

    p.s.: sorry for my russian :D 

    1. Its not so stupid for Intel. Intel is in this for the money. Android is selling right now, and for a chip maker, there’s a lot of money to be made there. Therefore, it makes perfect sense why Intel would be so interested in getting Android on Intel. Also, don’t underestimate Intel’s ability to pump money into something until its better than its competitors. Its true that Intel’s main focus has been performance, but I bet you they can shift gears and optimize power efficiency for cell phones and tablets and beat ARM across the board. It may take some time, but Intel has the cash to do it.

      1. No, my friend. It is 100% impossible for x86 to have any chances vs ARM in the mobile implementations.
        And it doesn’t matter who is the manufacturer – Intel or AMD or anyone else. x86 – not for mobile! Don’t ask me why (you have to know core differences between ARISCM and x86).

        The only chance for Intel is to have their own ARM (not x86!) processors. BTW, there are rumors, that AMD investing in that stream. And it is very right decision, cos mobile market will be progressively growing, while the only one monopolist here – ARM holding. So, why not to steal a piece of a big and sweaty pie (mobile processor)?

        1. So wait…you know that x86 won’t work, because presumably, you know the difference between ARISCM and x86, yet you won’t be able to answer the question about why it won’t work.

          I’d also say something about the sweaty pie, but you’ve already said that English isn’t your first language, so I’ll let that go.

          1. Heh… Do you know russian language? :) If yes – i can explain in details, why it is wrong to use x86 in mobile.

        2. 100% Impossible? REALLY? So you know better than everyone @ Intel working on Android right now?

          OK so WHen ICS comes out and Intel launces their chips we’ll see.If you’re wrong Please PLEASE don’t come back on this site again.

          Had enough peeps disregard other people’s views blabbering out unbacked up crap for one day..

          1. Yes, 100% impossible ;)
            Impossible for x86 to be better than ARM (in mobile devices).
            I promise you, I will not come back, if x86 powered smartphone will be better. ;) 
            x86 in smartphone…  LOL

  12. Our good old X86 back on phones and tablets!

  13. Intel makes a smart move. Always wait for a better update.

  14. Intel should push manufacturers to see Intel powered devices without skins. Then, Intel can promote how all Intel powered devices look and run the same and will receive timely updates. I also feel like Motorola should launch some Intel powered devices. With their impending Google purchase, I would think promoting Google’s new found relationship with Intel would be good. Plus, a Droid with Intel inside just sounds like an awesome marketing campaign.

  15. Great news. Thanks for details.

  16. Like the article said, I’m glad to see more competition.  It’d be nice if they’d put out a Intel branded phone that is vanilla android (unless that is what they’re saying in the article), cause that would be badass.  

    1. Intel should require vanilla Android on all Intel phones. For them, brand differentiation means little and performance means everything. Therefore, it would make sense for Intel to push this because it would mean a consistent experience across all Intel powered devices, no bloated skin to slow down performance, and more timely updates for Intel than ARM. If they did that, they’d win me over in a heartbeat.

      1. That would be awesome. I’ve always been a fan of Intel, and Intel phones that have pure Android would only make me more of a fan.

  17. Hopefully it might be a great news for developers. Right now we have to use emulator which is pretty slow. Thx to x86 support maybe compilation time will be faster, thus developing much more enjoyable

  18. I hope HTC jumps over this. And Intel doesn’t consume that much look at Macbooks or some Sony laptops that last 7-10 hours. That’s really good for a laptop.

    1. HTC is in bed with Qualcomm. Don’t hold your breath. I see current PC manufacturers (Asus, Acer, Lenovo, etc.) being more comfortable offering Intel powered devices but also maybe the likes of Motorola, especially with the Google deal. Even if Google says they’re staying out of the hardware business, it would make sense for them to push the fruits of this new relationship out into the world, and outside of a Nexus device, Motorola is the main way. Plus, Intel’s CEO is on Google’s board and if Google own’s Motorola, then there’s a vested interest there for both to succeed. Plus, a Droid with Intel inside just sounds right.

  19. yes… finally… competition, making companies work hard for that better proccesor

  20. hey guys via my blog its all about android

  21. When are you people going to realisae arm processors are garbage? If mobile devices are going to replace computers  like everybody thinks they are it’s not going to be with arm processors they’re way too underpowered.

  22. Hey Chavez, why do you keep deleting my posts you little prick

  23. You’re little fucking faggit spick chavez

  24. Whatever happens with introduction to intel it increases competition which for us will be better as prices will get really competitive :D

    1. Actually it might just be good for OEMs….:O…. :_(

  25. This is pretty cool. Intel will probably not show off their phone till CES 11′

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