Real Atom-powered phones, first pictures

Pankaj Kedia, the Director of Intel’s Global Ecosystem Programs has shown us the first Atom-powered phones, one of which is from LG (model GW990). It runs on the next generation LG UI that includes 3D elements. When in 2D mode, the Ui looks very much like the S-class user interface. We know that the phone is powered by Moorestown but Intel has declined to provide frequencies, RAM and other specifications. Moorestown is the next-generation Atom processor that was designed to consume 10 times less power, when compared to the first generation Atom. An impressive multitasking and video playback demo was shown. With many apps (and more OS tasks) running in the background, the video player user interface reacts unbelievably fast. The playback was flawless on the 1024×480 display.

From the photos, you will notice that the GW990 is bulkier than familiar devices like the iPhone or the Droid, but a smaller one was also demonstrated, even if that one too is relatively thick – the question is whether or not it is as equally more powerful than its competitors. Without spending more time with it, and without a familiar OS, it’s hard to draw any comparison with existing phones. What we know for sure is that LG and others believe in the platform and are willing to invest significant resources in it.

I wrote about it before, but while ARM is extremely popular in the handheld and embedded world, it sure seems that Intel is going to lower levels of power much faster than ARM can climb levels of processing speeds, so ARM is very much on the defensive on this one. That said, ARM doesn’t need to panic either, it will take years for Intel to build an ecosystem, and in the meantime, ARM will keep an edge in terms of absolute power consumption (Arm-based Tegra consumes 0.5W) and ride the huge wave of smart devices that is happening right now.

How little the Intel-powered consume and how they will improve the user experience will ultimately define the success of Moorestown in the handheld space. At this point, it looks like Intel’s job is done, now it’s up to handset makers to build a good product.

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