Smartphones and tablets running Intel's chips will enter the mobile market early next year, posing a challenge to the dominance of Apple's iPhone and iPad, US media reported on Wednesday.
Technology Review, a magazine published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said it had tested prototype smartphones and tablets equipped with Intel's latest mobile chip, dubbed Medfield. The products run Google's Android mobile operating system, reported Xinhua.
"We expect products based on these to be announced in the first half of 2012," Stephen Smith, vice president of Intel's architecture group, told the magazine.
The prototype products are known as "reference designs" which are sent out to make a pitch for persuading manufacturers to build their devices around Intel's technology. According to Technology Review, the phone prototype was similar in dimensions to the iPhone 4 but noticeably lighter.
The phone was powerful and pleasing to use, at par with the latest iPhone and Android handsets. It could play Blu-Ray-quality video and stream it to a TV if desired; Web browsing was smooth and fast, said the review.
An outstanding feature of the phone is its camera's "burst mode" which can capture 10 full-size eight-megapixel images at a rate of 15 per second, it noted.
Intel's tablet, running the latest version of Android system, has a slightly larger screen than the iPad 2 but is about the same thickness and weight. The review said a limited trial suggested it was nicer to use than older tablets based on older versions of Android.
Intel has tested its reference handset against a handful of the leading phones on sale today and the tests show that Medfield offers faster browsing and graphics performance and lower power consumption than the top three, Smith told Technology Review.
In September, Intel announced a partnership with Google to enable the Android system to support the world's largest chip maker's architectures.
Intel has been struggling to get a bite of the booming market of smartphones and tablets. Most of the current mobile devices use chips based on architecture from ARM Holdings, which are considered more power efficient than Intel's products. Nokia had planned to ship smartphones with Intel chips this year, but it shifted to ARM-based phones with Windows Phone 7 system.