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Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) has been on the outside of the mobile market, looking in. The chip giant's products power a few tablets and handsets from no-name manufacturers in China, but "Intel Inside" is not a mobile jingle in the Western world. ARM Holdings (Nasdaq: ARMH ) has locked up the mobile space, leaving little room for others to gain a toehold in this exploding market.
All that is about to change. Intel and Google division Motorola Mobility just introduced Motorola's first Intel-powered phone. Say hello to the Motorola RAZR i.
The RAZR i is a reworked version of the RAZR M, which features a Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM ) Snapdragon processor and is available from Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) today. The main difference is Intel's 2-gigahertz Atom "Medfield" processor. The Ice Cream Sandwich version of Google's Android software runs on both Intel and ARM processors, and this phone should present a fairly bare-bones version of the Android experience.
Motorola claims 20 hours of "mixed use" battery life thanks to the low power needs of the Intel chip and the ultra-efficient OLED screen. That's a major selling point these days.
So when can we get our hands on this handset? Well, Motorola will start selling these phones in October across Latin America and large chunks of Western Europe. There's no launch date in the calendar for North America, though the model should be compatible with the fast HSPA+ data networks of AT&T or T-Mobile.
Why isn't Intel staking a claim on its all-American home soil, where other mobile-phone hopefuls go to set the tone for global campaigns? That's hard to say, especially since the company isn't spilling the beans. The situation gets even curiouser when you consider how U.S.-centric the Motorola brand really is. Motorola Mobility pulled more than half of its revenue from the United States in 2011, which is unusual in this industry. Maybe it's a joint effort to raise the profile of two American brands in overseas markets.
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