Motorola launches Razr i smartphone with 2GHz Intel Atom processor

Faster clock speed will result in smoother browsing and better video performance, according to Intel

Google-owned Motorola Mobility has launched its first smartphone with an Atom processor from Intel, the companies announced at an event in London on Tuesday.

The Razr i is the first smartphone with a 2.0GHz Atom Z2460 processor: Existing Atom smartphones run at 1.6GHz. The faster clock speed will result in smoother browsing and better video performance, according to Eric Read, general manager for Intel's Mobile and Communications group.

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The smartphone still uses version 4.0 of Android, although it will be possible to upgrade it to Android 4.1. Motorola has not set a date for the upgrade's availability.

The Razr i has a 4.3-inch screen with a resolution of 960 by 540 pixels, and an 8-megapixel camera. The camera starts up in one second, and there is also a dedicated button for taking pictures, Motorola said. The specification also includes a 2,000mAh battery, NFC and a splash guard to protect it in the rain, the company said.

The smartphone will start shipping in October in countries including the U.K, France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico. No pricing was announced.

The launch of the Razr i comes almost nine months after the companies announced a partnership at the CES conference in Las Vegas. Motorola is not the only company to release phones based on Intel's Atom Z2460 processor: Others have been launched by ZTE, Orange and Lenovo.

These phones are just the first steps on a long road for Intel if the company wants to challenge the dominance of ARM in the market for power-efficient processors.

The first half of next year will see the launch of products powered by Intel's Z2580 processor, which will add support for LTE and also promises to double the performance of the Z2460 thanks to the use of two cores instead of one, Intel said.

The addition of LTE is a must if the company wants to break into the U.S. market, and is also becoming more important in parts of Asia. Existing Intel-based smartphones have to make do with HSPA when accessing the Internet.

The upcoming Z2000 processor will also make it possible for Intel to power low-cost smartphones, where much of the growth is and will be going forward. The first of those phones will arrive in the beginning of 2013, according to Intel.

As the PC market stutters, mobile devices are becoming increasingly important for Intel. Worldwide sales of PCs in the second quarter showed no growth over last year, while sales of smartphones grew by 42.7 percent, according to data from market research company Gartner.

Besides smartphones, Intel also wants to power tablets running Android and Microsoft's Windows 8.

The IFA consumer electronics show, which took place in Berlin in the beginning of September, saw the launch of a number of products that will go on sale later this year. Windows 8 is due to start shipping on Oct. 26.

On Monday, Intel also said it will be possible to run Android on tablets based on the company's upcoming Clover Trail processor, but the company didn't say when the first such products will arrive. Previously, Intel had said that Clover Trail was optimized for Windows 8.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com.

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