Last year, Intel’s mobile chief told me in an interview: “Windows 8 on tablets, Android on smartphones. Right now, I have as many people working on Windows 8 tablets as I have on Android phones… the way for us to succeed is to focus – through close collaboration with Google on Android, and Microsoft on Windows 8.”
Who knows whether Intel is actually telling the truth, though, or whether that’s just political posturing to keep the Wintel alliance healthy. We would be very surprised if Intel didn’t have some x86 Android tablets in its R&D labs.
Silvermont could be very exciting in the smartphone space, however. While Medfield wasn’t the fastest SoC on the block, it was fast enough – and as we’ve already noted, performance isn’t everything. Silvermont will be much faster than Medfield, while consuming less power. At this point we can’t say if Silvermont will beat the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon or Apple A-series SoCs, but it will almost certainly be fast enough to power a flagship smartphone, while hopefully not breaking the battery bank.
With Intel’s continued work on x86 Android, it now seems fairly certain that this will be the year that an Intel-powered smartphone finally arrives in the US market. If that phone is a success, Intel will finally have a mobile beachhead – and it will be then, and only then, that ARM will finally experience the big guns of Intel’s manufacturing mastery and promise to release a new Atom core every 12 month