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Linux-based Motorola phone to use Intel chip

The No. 2 market share leader in cell phones will use a processor from its chipmaking rival in the upcoming A760 handset.

Motorola's upcoming Linux-based cell phone will be its first phone to use a processor from chipmaking rival Intel.

The Schaumburg, Ill.-based company announced the A760 handset in late August and is expected to begin selling it in China on Friday. The A760 is a high-end smart phone that combines a personal information management software application, a video player, a music player and an instant-messaging tool. It will go on sale in Europe and the United States later.

The phone will use two chips. Motorola develops and manufactures its own line of processors for portable devices, such as handhelds and cell phones, and its i250 chip will be used in the A760. The phone will also use Intel's PXA262 processor, according to Intel and Motorola representatives.

Advanced phones have been using two processors, one to power communications capabilities and the other to handle computing functions, but more and more phone makers will turn to chips combining two cores for the communications and computing capabilities, reducing costs, space requirements and power consumption.

Motorola's i250 will handle the communications, and Intel's chip will handle computing.

A Motorola representative declined to comment for this story.

The move is a boost for Intel because it gets the company's chips into a device from a leading phone maker and into a market--China--that analysts say is poised for major growth in cell phone use. Motorola is the No. 2 market share leader in the cell phone market behind Nokia.

The PXA262 processor essentially packages an XScale PXA250 processor with Intel StrataFlash memory. Stacking memory and processor reduces the number of parts in a device and gives manufacturers the option to shrink a product or add other features without making it bigger.

The A760 will use an Intel PXA262 chip running at 200MHz with 256MB of memory. The A760 is a dual-mode GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) phone.

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Motorola plans to eventually use Linux in most of its handsets, including the less-expensive models. The Linux-powered handset will be closely watched by those who foresee a bright future for the open-source operating system on portable devices.

The company has said the majority of its cell phones eventually will use Linux but that many programs for the phones will run in the higher-level Java software environment. The A760 uses a version of Linux from MontaVista Software.