Companies conduct surveys all the time to figure out what exactly their customers want. Orange UK recently did just such a survey, and in it they just so happened to reveal the Orange London. Forget about the terrible name for a second, it’s basically Intel’s Medfield reference platform, which we saw last month at the Consumer Electronics Show, but with what will likely be an Orange logo on the front or the back of the device. Specs for those who may have forgotten: 1.6 GHz Intel Atom, 4 inch screen, and what we think will be 1 GB of RAM. Early benchmarks done by AnandTech show that Medfield blows everything out of the water, at least in browser tests, but the key missing metric is battery performance. Just how long will an Intel Atom powered smartphone last compared to something with a Qualcomm or Texas Instruments chip?
The more important question, is the London even real? Knowing Orange’s history of rebranding devices from Huawei and ZTE, we’re pretty confident in saying that yes, the London is indeed an actual device, though we have no idea who is making it. When Intel showed off their Medfield reference platform they said it was pretty much ready to go, so we know that at least one Asian factory has all the tools and supplies needed to pump this baby out in volume.
So should ARM (by that we mean Qualcomm, TI, NVIDIA, ST-Ericsson, etc.) be running scared? Not really. As fast as this industry moves, Intel’s got a hell of a lot to prove. ARM’s business model, whereby they license the blueprints for processors that then end up on custom chips, is fundamentally different than Intel’s business model of selling you silicon. We welcome Intel to the game, but unless we see either Apple or Samsung putting Intel inside their flagships, then we really couldn’t care less at this point.