Intel Confirms Medfield x86 Chips Don’t Support LTE Yet
Intelâ€™s second bite at the smartphone market has been more akin to a gentle nibbling around the edges. At the end of last year the chipmaker teased a smartphone reference design running its Medfield x86 Atom SoC. Nine months later Intel chips have found their way inside six real world smartphones, yet none apparently destined for the U.S.
The six smartphones are the Lava XOLO X900 (an exclusively Indian device), the Lenovo K800 (targeting China first), Megafonâ€™s Mint (a Russian carrier-branded device), the Orange San Diego (a UK carrier-branded launch), the ZTE Grand X IN (heading to Europe first) and Motorolaâ€™s RAZR i (coming to select European and South American markets).
Aside from Intel internals, the RAZR i closely resembles the recently announced Droid RAZR M (the latter is a U.S. device) â€“ which further flags up the U.S.-shaped hole in Intelâ€™s smartphone strategy. Whatâ€™s going on here?
The likely explanation is thereâ€™s no support for LTE in Intelâ€™s current Medfield chips. And with 4G such a dominant force in the U.S. you need to command a brand as massive as Apple to get away with flogging LTE-less phones (the iPhone 5 being Cupertinoâ€™s only 4G phone).
The lack of LTE support in Medfield chips was confirmed to TechCrunch by Sumeet Syal, Intelâ€™s Director of Product Marketing (he wouldnâ€™t be drawn on explaining the politics behind Medfieldâ€™s current geographical spread). He also confirmed 4G support is in the pipeline, noting that Intel will be â€œshipping some LTE products later this year and ramping into 2013â€³ â€“ so that particular barrier to U.S. entry may soon be removed.