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French carrier Orange to sell Intel Android phone direct, cheap

Reuters reported that France-based carrier Orange would launch Intel Medfield-based Atom smartphones in the United Kingdom and French markets this year. This is notable for a number of reasons.

Although long time Intel MoBo partner Gigabyte will build the device, there is no manufacturer listed on the device besides Intel. Moreover, Intel will provide some proprietary software.

The phone is based on Intel’s prototype Medfield Android phone shown off most recently at CES 2012 and now MWC 2012. Orange’s version will house Intel’s Atom Z2460 processor that clocks at 1.6GHz. It will also have a 4-inch 600-by-1024 display with an impressive 8-megapixel camera that will shoot 1080P video. IT will also ship with Android 2.3, but it will be upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich OS (which is strange, because the prototypes at CES ran ICS.)

The phone will market as a low-cost prepaid device and not a high-end device, even though Medfield chips usually blow away anything in the ARM camp on power (not power consumption).

I get the feeling Intel grew tired of smartphone manufacturers passing it over for cheaper ARM chips and just decided to build the phone itself.


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