The "i" in Razr i is for INTEL. 1200 Intel Engineers get Android rolling. 1200....think Intel can be stopped when they put their mind to something?
The "i" is for Intel in the Motorola Razr i
About 1,200 Intel engineers optimized the Intel SoC for Android.
By Steve Patterson on Fri, 09/21/12 - 10:05am.
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Motorola’s announcement of the Razr i smartphone is notable because it is an answer to the question that no one asked: Where is the "Intel inside" in smartphones? Easily overlooked because the Razor i is not available on many networks or in most geographies, Razr i is worth understanding. It’s the product of four brands - Android, Google, Intel and Motorola - and it is a big deal for two smart technology companies, Intel and Motorola. It’s a beautifully engineered, thin, fast phone with a 4.3-inch LCD that has almost an edge-to-edge display.
Simply stated, Intel’s business is to sell the most valuable semiconductor components on the basis of gross margin per square millimeter into commodity markets. Intel, a company that has been facing the pressure of slowing growth in PC and notebook shipments, must be relieved to see the accelerating growth of the mobile market where it can capture new, accelerating revenues. Mostly absent from the mobile smartphone market, Intel announced its intentions last January to work with Motorola in the U.S. and Lenovo in China to produce smartphones based on Android and Intel’s Atom architecture.
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What did Intel get? The right to engineer a version of Atom optimized for smartphones with Motorola/Google mobile development teams that understand the various proprietary implementations of the ARM processor that is almost ubiquitous in smartphones. In fact, the Razr i looks like the identical form factor as the ARM-based Razr M with many shared components so design outcomes can be compared.
Intel spends about $8 billion per year on research and development (about 15% of revenue), most of it on building better highly integrated systems on "SoC" microprocessors. Its intimate understanding of manufacturing, design, performance and power management make the company a formidable competitor to the ARM processors manufactured by Freescale, Qualcomm and Nvidia. With the Motorola Razr i announcement, Intel introduced the 2 GHz Atom processor with the same 20-hour talk time as the recently announced Razr M with a 1.5 GHz Arm processor.
The Atom Penwell is a highly integrated SOC with onboard functions, such as graphics and base band communications. Fine-grained power management reduces power consumption to match usage until it reaches idle mode with minimal consumption. According to Intel’s John Carvill, "power management is a function of both hardware and software. Intel has over 1,200 engineers working to optimize Android and the Atom SoC."
Besides designing and producing valuable semiconductors, Intel executes incredibly well at packaging and selling its processors with reference designs and tools to accelerate design and product delivery and third-party software to ODMs around the world, especially in Asia. To estimate the potential impact that Intel could have on the smartphone market and Android, consider what Intel did for Wintel PC market and Microsoft.
With the introduction of the Razr i, Google has succeeded in expanding the diversity of its ecosystem with a powerful partner that is aligned with the goal of establishing an Android architectural standard with broad adoption, diverse designs and low end-user cost. Google and Intel do not compete. Google is more interested in growing the number of devices running Android than in growing Motorola Mobility and designing a proprietary ARM variant to compete with Intel. Intel is interested in maximizing the value of its Android-optimized SoC semiconductors relative to the total value of the device. Intel is more motivated by the opportunity to absorb a large portion Apple’s system-level mobile margin than by the deceleration of the growth of the PC and notebook market. If Intel succeeds, Android market share will increase and Intel will siphon profits from Apple’s franchise.
In October 2011, Motorola resurrected the Razr brand for a line of Android smartphones; the Droid RAZR for Verizon Wireless (otherwise it would be known simply as 'Motorola RAZR' on other networks) and the improved variant Droid RAZR MAXX. However, despite being called Razr, it does not have anything in common with the original line except for the name (i.e. these are touchscreen smartphones and not clamshell phones).