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CES: Intel adds Atom chip for low-cost smartphones

07 Jan 2013
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LAS VEGAS: Intel has introduced a low-cost addition to its Atom lineup which it hopes will power a range of fully-featured but cheap smartphones for developing nations.

The company said that its Z2420 chip would allow hardware vendors to create handsets which can bring smartphone features to the traditional low-cost market.

Powered by a 1.2GHz processor core, the Z2420 will support multithreading and will be designed to run Android. The platform will also be designed for dual-SIM deployments and will include FM radio connectivity and microSD storage support.

"We view this as a full-function, feature rich, no-compromise platform," said Mike Bell, general manager of mobile and communications.

The Z2420 chip will join an Atom lineup which had previously been limited to the high-end smartphone space. Intel plans to continue its high-end push with the Clover Trail+ platform, due to reach the market later this year.

With the new chip, however, Intel looks to make a move into the developing world. The company said that it has already secured deals with vendors including Acer, Safaricom and Lava to develop handsets for developing regions.

The company hopes that in doing so, it can begin to bring smartphone operations such as web browsing to price-sensitive markets which had previously been dominated by feature phones.

"This segment is one of the fastest-growing in the mobile device world," explained Bell.

"We think smartphones have become a fundamentally enabling platform that should be within everyone's reach."

Intel said that details and availability dates for the first devices based on the platform will be released later in the quarter.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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