MOBILE OPERATOR Orange has announced it will carry a self-branded Intel Medfield based smartphone sometime this Summer.
Orange is one of the few mobile operators in Europe that carries own-branded smartphones, with the Orange San Francisco, originally the ZTE Blade, being the most well known example.
Orange has stolen a march on its rivals by announcing that it will release a smartphone based on Intel's Medfield reference design this Summer.
Although Orange didn't give out a name, its marketing materials reveal the name as Santa Clara, presumably a nod to Intel's headquarters in that California town. The firm will release the device in the UK and France first sporting a 4.03in display and it will run Intel's Atom Z2460 processor with support for HSPA+ and have 16GB of internal storage.
Orange said the Santa Clara will run Android 2.3 Gingerbread on release, though a software update will result in the device running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The design is almost identical to the reference unit Intel showed off last month at CES and, while it is unlikely to quicken any pulses, if Orange prices the device below £150 it could get Intel off to a good start in the budget smartphone market.
Orange said it will load the Santa Clara with a few of its own applications to access services such as Orange TV, Dailymotion, Deezer, Orange Wednesdays, Your Orange and Orange Gestures. Of course none of those will interest those who want to know how to root the device, unlock the bootloader and load a custom ROM.
Intel's best chance of generating volume, which is what Intel has always been about, is to get its chips slipped inside cheap mainstream devices. If it can drive up volume then Android and its applications over time will be optimised for Intel's Medfield architecture rather than ARM chips. µ