Intel plays smartphone, tablet catch-up at CES 2012

Intel took the wraps off its plans to get its chips into smartphones and tablets this year, announcing deals with Lenovo and Motorola.

Intel president and chief executive Paul Otellini talks about the company's smartphone and tablet plans at CES 2012.
Intel president and chief executive Paul Otellini talks about the company's smartphone and tablet plans at CES 2012. James Martin/CNET

LAS VEGAS--Intel made the case tonight that it didn't miss a step in the smartphone and tablet game, instead offering that computing has become device-agnostic.

Nonetheless, Intel spent the majority of its focus on smartphones and tablets, announcing deals that should spur more Atom-powered mobile devices in the near future.

On the smartphone front, that amounts to a reference design for a phone with a 4.03-inch LCD, two cameras (including one at 8 megapixels), and one of Intel's low-power Z2460 processors. The company hopes it will cut down the time and money it takes OEMs to get new phones out the door.

The first such phone running an Intel mobile chip is Lenovo's K800 , due in the second quarter of this year. Liu Jun, Lenovo senior vice president and president of mobile Internet and digital home, took to the stage to announce the phone, saying the move is just the first of many, and represents a heavy investment by the company into the mobile space.

Joining Lenovo was Motorola, which--with Intel--announced the beginning of a multi-year, multi-device deal that will bring new Intel-powered Motorola devices to market later this year. No models or features were announced, but Motorola says it plans to use Intel chips in both smartphones and tablets.

Intel spent the rest of its time on stage focusing on notebooks, including demos of computers using its upcoming Ivy Bridge chips. However the real focus fell on ultrabooks, the thin and light notebooks whose definition has begun to blur as manufacturers have expanded to 14- and 15-inch models while retaining the marketing moniker.

Dell effectively tried to get that trend back on track, joining Intel on stage to show off the XPS 13 , a 13-inch so-called ultrabook that the company will begin selling next month. Among its features are 9-hour battery life, aluminum and carbon fiber construction, use of Corning's Gorilla Glass, and what Dell claims to be 15 percent less size than competing 13-inch models.

And an Intel keynote would not be complete without a celebrity appearance. Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas fame came on to promote an Intel-sponsored "Ultrabook Project," that has the musician travelling to 12 countries and working with local artists to produce 12 songs and work on philanthropic efforts.

You can catch the whole rundown of how it played out by over at CNET's live blog.

 

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