Acer, Lava, and Safaricom have all committed to using the "Lexington" chip

In addition to a new push for touch support in the premium "Ultrabook"™ branding, Intel Corp. (INTC) announced a brand new Atom smartphone processor at its Monday afternoon press conference at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show.

Aimed at budget buyers, the new chip was formerly dubbed "Lexington" and now has been officially branded the Intel Atom Z2420.  As with "Medfield" Intel has released a "shipping quality" reference design to help inspire OEMs on how to meet Intel's specifications.

Intel mobile chief Mike Bell remarks, "Customers in emerging markets shouldn't have to settle for a substandard smartphone experience.  [The Z2420 is] a new smartphone platform that gets us into the value segment."

Clocked at 1.2 GHz, the single-core chip (with support for hyperthreading) is a bit slower than the frisky 1.8 GHz Z2760 dual-core "Clover Trail" part, which currently headlines Intel's high-end smartphone lineup.  But compared to lower powered ARM smartphone chips, the processors should still be pretty aggressive in terms of performance.


The low voltage chip's PowerVR SGX540 graphics from Imagination Technologies plc (LON:IMG) is powerful enough to drive a 320x240 pixel, 3.5-inch screen in ther reference design and to capture 1080p 30 frames-per-second video off of the 5 megapixel camera.  The image processor also accelerates a 7 frames-per-second "burst mode" still frame capture.

The chip also retains support for Intel's Wireless Display technology (which streams 1080p video to WiFi-capable televisions) -- not something many budget customers will need or use, but part of Intel's philosophy of not compromising on the low end.  The phone will include an Intel XMM 6265 HSPA+ modem, dual-sim/dual-standby support (nice for network hopping), a FM radio receiver, and support for microSD slots.

Intel Z2420 features

Among the markets Intel hopes to target are Latin America, Africa, India, China, and Southeast Asia.  Three companies -- Acer Inc. (TPE:2353), Lava International and Safaricom all have pending handsets based on the chip.

Intel Design wins

The release seems a smart move for Intel's campaign to gain ground in the mobile segment.   Application compatibility in this segment is driven, to a degree, by the low end, particularly on the Android platform.

[All Images © Jason Mick and DailyTech LLC]

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