The head of Intel's smartphone operation has confirmed that each new mobile chip is to be accompanied by a 'reference design' smartphone device. Speaking at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, Mike Bell, Intel's Vice-President of Ultra Mobility, announced that he expects at least two new devices that have used this technology demonstrator to be launched by 2014.
The 'reference designs' are currently being used by Intel to both test and demonstrate the capabilities of its new chips for the handheld devices, according to Mr Bell, who denied suggestions that the chip-making giant intends to market them to the public. Instead, he said, the 'reference designs' are to be used by Intel as 'calling cards' with mobile operators and device manufacturers.
"If you make a chip and don't make a phone," Mr Bell explained, "then you just have to go in to manufacturers with Powerpoint and tell them making a phone with your chip is a really great idea." He added that Intel makes the reference designs in order to demonstrate "what our hardware can do".
Using the current Intel chip, he claimed that smartphone users will be able to enjoy higher performance on Google's Android operating system than rival operating systems, such as Apple's iOs. And in less than 12 months, Intel said that the chip will be around half its current size.
Although the chip-making giant has "a lot of stuff in play" when it came to mobile devices, Mr Bell conceded to the audience in Barcelona that "the really hard part is getting the software and the hardware to line up". He did, however, acknowledge that the soon-to-be-released version of Google Android represents a clear opportunity to test the technology. "The 'Jelly Bean' release is the obvious point of intersection," Mr Bell remarked.
Mobile phone network Orange is set to ship Intel's first mass market smartphone, the firm has confirmed. Motorola and ZTE, meanwhile, are already known to be involved in making Intel devices, though specific details of the technology are still to emerge.