Aug 29 AT 10:31 AM Taylor Wimberly 28 Comments

Motorola and Intel could reveal the fastest Android phone next month in London


Early this year Motorola and Intel announced a multi-year partnership, but we have yet to see any mobile devices announced since then. That should change soon as Motorola just sent out an invitation to the press for an event with Intel that is planned for September 18th in London. Some sites are already speculating that this could be Motorola’s first Android phone to feature Intel’s Medfield chip, but that platform is aging and Intel already announced a faster part.

Intel’s first mobile chip that was adopted in Android phones was the Atom Z2460 (Medfield), which featured a single-core 1.6 GHz CPU and PowerVR SGX 540 GPU. Their next mobile chip is the Atom Z2580 (Clover Trail) that features a dual-core 1.8 GHz CPU, PowerVR SGX 544MP2 GPU, and integrated LTE.

Atom supports Hyper-Threading technology which allows two virtual or logical cores to run on each physical CPU core. This means the new dual-core Atom Z2580 will be able to run four threads, similar to other quad-core mobile processors. The newer PowerVR SGX 544MP2 GPU will also be clocked at 533 MHz, which would put it on the level of the fastest mobile GPU found in Apple’s iPad.

“Faster speeds only get you so far,” Mike Bell, Intel’s vice president for mobile, told the BBC. “It’s really all about user experience and the responsiveness of the device and less about speeds and feeds. What we are trying to do is work out what the next user experience should be on these hand-held devices and then work backwards to build into the silicon the hooks we need to create that experience, because it’s software and hardware that do it, not just one or the other.”

Several Windows 8 tablets from ASUS and Acer are going to use the Atom Z2580, so the part should be ready for smartphones as well. Motorola’s event is just a couple weeks away, so we will find out the details soon enough.

If the price and performance are right, would you buy an Android phone with Intel inside?

Via: BBC

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • shadhussain

    i’d get one, only if it’s a nexus device. and if its better designed than sony’s nexus. o boy, this is too much excitement … october/november can’t come soon enough!

  • jaxidian

    This sounds cool but don’t give HyperThreading too much credit. On the surface, HT sounds great. However, it tends to consume LOTS of power while providing little benefit. If you look at what HT does, it doesn’t actually provide additional processing channels but only provides additional controllers of those processing channels.

    Since I love analogies, let’s look at an airport as being similar to a multi-core CPU. A CPU has multiple cores and an airport has multiple runways. The goal is to get as many planes (commands) in and out as soon as possible. If planes (commands) are waiting to come in/out, then you want to make sure you have no empty runways whether it’s the landing/takeoff runways or the taxi runways. These various runways (and the line of planes on them) can be thought of the various stages of the pipeline in a processor. Now that we have this analogy set this far, let’s look at what HT itself is. It’s NOT additional processing components to allow extra more processing in the CPU. It is additional scheduling/management components to make better use of the unchanged processing components. So if in an airport you might have 1 air traffic controller per runway, this is akin to adding a second air traffic controller to pick up the slack when that one air traffic controller doesn’t optimize every plane on every runway in the best way. However, keep in mind that generally, that one air traffic controller can do a pretty damned good job on that runway. So there isn’t much slack. Same in a CPU.

    Now backing out of that analogy, that additional HT hardware must confuse the OS (to a point, although the OS must also be optimized to take advantage of HT) and make it look like there truly is an extra CPU. This means all sorts of communications going back and forth and like anything else in your CPU, this takes power. Significant power.

    In the end, you do see real world performance increases of ~5-10% but you see significant power increases of much higher than 5-10%. Moral of the story is that we better hope that there is a button to turn off HT somewhere. If what we’ve seen in the past with HT holds true, I don’t want that on my phone until we get some next-gen battery technologies in place!

    CAVEAT: All of this “real world” info is based on desktops, Windows, and Linux. How it works in phones and Android could be different. However, I’m not holding my breath.

    • RockinDrod!

      What he said

    • shadhussain

      non-techie techies like me love analogies! you learn something everyday :)

      • Mix

        Awesome post!

        I went with an i5 this Xmas for my new PC because most games suffer on the i7 because of HT and why pay more for a feature only to be turned off?

        • jaxidian

          If you’re into overclocking, I bet you also learned that to overclock the i7 well, you MUST turn off HT. And if you’re into aftermarket cooling, I bet you know all about how hot the CPU gets with HT on versus off. That’s all easily-observable side-effects of multiple air-traffic controllers. ;-)

          • Homncruse

            Off-topic, but…

            I run an i7 920 overclocked to 3.8 GHz (stock 2.67) with a closed-loops H80 liquid cooler, but didn’t know about the HT trick. I couldn’t get >3.8 GHz stable because I wasn’t willing to up the voltage any higher due to temps under load approaching unsafe limits. Are you saying that if I disabled HT, I could potentially up the voltage further, thus upping my OC even further? Would that advantage outweigh the benefits of HT?

          • jaxidian

            Yes. Do this:
            1) Disable HT and do nothing else. Then monitor your temps and compare to before. Be happy.
            2) Up your clock and see what your new max is (w/o upping your voltage). You’ll probably have a higher ceiling. Be happy.
            3) Play with voltages and find yet another new ceiling. Of course monitor temps but forget what you saw before with temps with HT enabled (other than for comparison) as your new temps/voltages/speeds will be different and better.
            4) Never turn HT on again!

            Like I said, HT gives you a real-world benefit in the range of 10%, and that’s in parallel-optimized situations or multi-tasking. If you can get an add’l 20% clock speed, that’s in pretty much ALL situations.

          • Homncruse

            @jaxidian You, sir, are a scholar and a gentleman.

          • jaxidian


            Not sure if you’ll be able to hit it unless you go push-pull with your radiator but many people can get past 4.5GHz with their i7. Good luck!! :-)

          • Homncruse

            @jaxidian Actually, I’m already setup as push-pull with my radiator :)

    • Derek

      You’re absolutely right. There’s still only two physical cores, you could quad thread each core so it “looks” like there’s 8 cores, but the two cores can still only do so much work. If you want quad core, go with 4 physical cores, not two cores hyper-threaded into 4. Not a fan of hyper threading.

    • Homncruse

      I love it when you talk techie to me.

  • LittleGreenDude

    It seems like every month, there’s a new post about the “Next most powerful phone”. I hate to say it, but apple did something right by not overwhelming consumers.

    • MyMilan

      That’s because every android manufacture wants to be the new king of the hill. Competition is a good thing, but really frustrating sometimes for consumers.

      • LittleGreenDude

        True, competition encourages innovation, but it also can also result in an overload of new devices.

    • Dags -

      I disagree. I’d rather that Android phones keep getting faster, more memory, etc., every few months than stay then same for a year like the iPhone. Keep pushing the boundaries I say. Desktop CPUs, graphics cards, etc., all improve at the same fast speed as Android phones and consumers deal with it – why can’t they when it comes to phones?

  • MyMilan

    It’s all about 3 things; performance, features and price point (value). The Galaxy S III has performance and features, but it sucks on price point. If Motorola/Intel had a phone that was a better value and yet also had top notch performance and features then hell yeah I’d look into getting one. Who cares what name is on the phone, it’s all about performance, features and price point which = good user experience.

  • KennyL

    I don’t see intel being a major player in the mobile space for a few more years yet. The Atom name has too much stink on it.

    • zerosix

      But Intel tries both in software and hardware. They failed with Nokia (Meego), now they are trying with Samsung (Tizen).
      Concerning the hardware, well, an x86-powered phone can be awesome for a geek, as soon as you can install real Linux (or smth else) with loads of software available.
      I really wish Intel good luck, because competitions is almost always good.

    • Dags -

      I really don’t think people will care about the name on the CPU – performance is what matters. I’ve never heard a non-techie utter the phrase “Texas Instruments” before, for example. I doubt most people would even know what “Qualcomm” is.

  • Nate B.

    Sounds really nice but Moto skin is a no no for me. In a Nexus? Let’s do business.

  • jswenson3

    Nothing compares to Moto hardware. I can’t wait to see what they bring around. I REALLY can’t wait to see what they have in store down the road with Google at the wheel.

  • Homncruse

    “Take you to the edge” — maybe they’ve figured out how to do a bezel-less display? Either that, or they’re so far out of the loop that they think EDGE data speeds are awesome.

  • eazi25

    Right now motorola skin with ics is the closest to stock ics that the nexus runs. Samsung s3 to much touch wiz, htc well sense is all over it. Research it

  • eazi25

    Let’s go moto!!! This should be awesom expeciall the way the medfield processor which is in the lenovo phone held up against the others only coming second to samsungs quad core chip. The z2580 with lte should run jellybean flawlessly and be one of the fastest devices out. And battery consumption has been finally minimized with this chip. That’s why now android is started to use this chipset. Watch and see this will be the best device this year.

  • Nathan D.

    I would get one if it has good battery life and reviews OS wise.