Better late than never.
Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is aggressively trying to make up for its tardiness to the mobile party, and the latest announcement today in London on that front is a new Android device from Google’s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Motorola subsidiary, featuring a Medfield Atom processor. Motorola was one of the more important hardware partners that Intel announced early this year, and investors have gone a long eight months before seeing the fruits of that labor.
The device is called the RAZR i, which is nearly identical to the RAZR M that was unveiled earlier this month for Verizon’s network. The key difference, of course, is that the RAZR M runs on a Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) Snapdragon processor while the RAZR i is sporting Intel inside. Beyond that, the external differences are imperceptible.
The RAZR i also uses an Intel baseband, one that doesn’t support LTE like the RAZR M and instead only has 3G data speeds. The familiar “Intel Inside” logo will be displayed prominently on its back, in order for Chipzilla to brand the device and build its smartphone presence in consumers’ minds.
This is an important chance for the company to prove itself to consumers and pundits on the merits of the processor alone, since the RAZR i and RAZR M are nearly identical in every other respect. That will allow for relevant comparisons in performance benchmarks and (perhaps most important) battery life. Mobile rival ARM Holdings (Nasdaq: ARMH) has historically boasted advantages in power efficiency with its designs, something Intel wants to change.
The RAZR i launches in the European market next month, which is a continuation of Intel’s strategy of going after smaller geographies before tackling the important U.S. market. All of the smartphones it has launched this year have been abroad, such as the Lava Xolo X900 in India or the Orange San Diego in Europe. It will still be going head-to-head with Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) freshly unveiled iPhone 5, which will be launched throughout Europe by the end of the month, including important countries like France, Germany, the U.K., and Italy, among others.
Soon enough, Intel will be coming after the domestic market, and the ARM army better be ready.