back to article Orange unveils Intel Atom smartphone

Intel's first real threat to ARM will arrive in the UK next week in the form of the Orange San Diego smartphone. It's not the first Intel smartphone on the market - Lenovo has literally just shipped that handset, the LePhone K800, in China this week. Exactly like the K800, the 4in Orange handset sports a 1.6GHz 'Medfield ' …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So being ATOM, these X86 based? So theoretically could Windows run on it?

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Ummm

      No reason why not just needs drivers but for the love of god why would you want to!!!

      ...Actually I am now tempted

    2. LarsG


      phone that Orange can fill with crapware and spoil before they sell it to the masses.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "most android apps"... :S

  3. a_been

    'It has an on-board ARM emulator to allow it to run most Android apps'

    I can't help wondering how much Intel is paying Orange and why anyone would buy this instead of a same speced ARM version which will have a longer battery life because it wont be running a software emulator.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'It has an on-board ARM emulator to allow it to run most Android apps'

      Because the majority of people don't know or care about the difference between arm and x86; as far as they're concerned they're all equal, cores and clock cycles are all that matter.

      Ideally you'd need to be lobotomised to employ a more expensive, more power hungry chip to emulate a perfectly good processor in its own right. But hey-ho.

      1. farizzle
        Thumb Up

        Re: 'It has an on-board ARM emulator to allow it to run most Android apps'

        +1 for the most amusing use of the word 'lobotomised' today :D

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: 'It has an on-board ARM emulator to allow it to run most Android apps'

      I think they are gambling it will be a hit like with their Windows CE Phones many years ago which I must admit I did get an Orange branded one wasn't bad kit but CE for a phone was MEH!

  4. thomas k.

    nice looking kit

    I must say, that's a pretty smart-looking, erm, smartphone.

    Can it run Linux, you think?

  5. Chris 125


    Other reports seem to suggest it's built by Gigabyte, since ZTE have done an HTC and decided to risk own-brand phones.

  6. Giles Jones Gold badge

    This is a non-starter for so many reasons.

    1. ARM works. It is efficient and powerful enough for a phone.

    2. Consumers don't care what CPU is in a phone. They care about battery life and performance. With Intel Atom you get a little more performance with much less battery life.

    3. ARM is the one big contribution to the mobile tech world the UK has made. Intel want to control this market.

    Stick with ARM, stick with a British success story!

  7. Arctic fox

    Well, the battery life *may* not be as pony as past experience with Intel would suggest.

    Anandtech did a review of the Lava Xolo X900 (running Android and using an emulator for the apps) and althought the battery in that phone was rather small the "normalised" battery life figures suggested that Medfield based phones would likely be reasonably competitive. We'll just have to see what this offering from Orange actually delivers when RegH takes a hands on look at it.

  8. RonWheeler

    competition is a good thing

    Intel entering the field will help keep the prices down and improve performance due to competition, And it gives manufacturers a bargaining chip against ARM. I doubt Intel's early offerings will be suitable for competing with the high end Tegra phones just yet, but early indications of the few other early Atom phones seem to show them as 'good enough' as low to mid rangers, even on battery life.

  9. jason 7

    The word 'kludge'

    springs to mind.

    They should be selling these for £50 as a market/tech tester.

  10. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    Interesting, but would I buy one?

    Answer - not yet.

    It'll be interesting to see how this early iteration goes. In particular with respect to real-world user experience on battery life, apps compatibility and performance.

    It'll be interesting to see what the more hardcore geeks will try with it - Who will be the first to load up a copy of an x86 Linux flavour, or even (Hells Bells!) a copy of XP?

    1. Arctic fox

      Re: Interesting, but would I buy one?

      "copy of an x86 Linux flavour, or even (Hells Bells!) a copy of XP"

      Why not? It would give all of us a great deal of harmless entertainment!

  11. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    "It has an on-board ARM emulator to allow it to run most Android apps on its x86 processor."

    Intel have managed to bludgeon an Atom enough to make it emulate ARM in a phone, but oddly enough Microsoft wouldn't (I'm not going to say couldn't) make an ARM emulate an x86 in a tablet.

    And this is one of the many reasons why Win8 will fail.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: Off-topic

      On Android the heavy lifting like rendering and media playback is in native code that Intel will have simply compiled to native x86. The Dalvik VM will also be written in native x86. Most of the time the emulator won't be doing anything.

      It's only when ARM native support libs ship with apps the emulator will get used. They're typically demanding apps - games for instance. Quality of the emulator will only matter when it most needs to be good. If they got it wrong Atom phones will condemn themselves to the low end where Intel simply cant compete on price with ARM.

      Looking forward to seeing real test results on the emulator. Split feelings though, much as I despise Intel an effective emulation will make life much simpler for app devs, who wont need to ship native x86 support with apps.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Emulation? Really?

    " It has an on-board ARM emulator to allow it to run most Android apps on its x86 processor."

    Sure it's not just using an x86 version of Android that Intel have been pumping out for many months. Of course are Android apps are not bytecode, they don't care about architecture...

    The only thing developers would care about, is if they used the Android native code NDK, they would have to pack the apk's with x86 and ARM binary blobs.

  13. asdf Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    wow kudos

    Once again having more money than god and the best manufacturing facilities in the industry helps Intel. You know how much engineering it would take to make the x86 dog of an instruction set competitive with ARM in mobile? If Intel succeeds it will be very much in spite of the dog shit not even good for the 1970s x86 instruction set.

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