Nobody cares about AC97
"For all intents and purposes, for the current era of smartphones, this is Intel's first model."
I don't buy it, the older smartphones were smartphones, and had Intel CPUs in them. I could use the same logic to claim some 2012-model PC was the first PC to ever use an Intel CPU. Nevertheless, the older devices that used Intel CPUs were not running x86, they were running Intel-built ARMs.
To run my favorite OS, Linux does not care one bit if you have AC97, VGA, or even a PCI bus. The fact of the matter is, though, unless the Atom has changed radically of late, the Atom draws more power than a similar-performance ARM both under full load and idle. I would not be interested in an Atom-based phone.