CES 2012: Lenovo Debuts the K800, Intel's First Android Phone

By Wesley Fenlon

Lenovo and Intel partner up to bring an Atom SoC to the smartphone market.

Windows on ARM and Android on Intel--it's a weird, weird world we're still getting used to, and today we had a chance to take the latter in-hand and see what an Intel phone running Android really feels like. With Android 2.3 Gingerbread and a 1.6GHz single-core processor, Lenovo's K800 felt a whole lot like the Android we're used to. Swiping between home screens was just a little laggy, and Gingerbread was all but invisible underneath a heavy (though clean and stylish) skin.

Lenovo took an unusually square design approach with the 4.5-inch phone, which was nice and sharp at 1280x720 on a TFT screen. The rest of the specs fall in line with the Android elite, but naturally Intel's packing in WiDi support for outputting 720p video to a TV at 30fps.

The K800 is the first phone from Lenovo and Intel running on Intel's 32nm Medfield SoC, part of the Atom platform that oh-so briefly powered the netbook market. Intel's talked big game about the power consumption of its system-on-a-chip, but it remains to be seen how the phone fares in real usage against ARM-powered Android devices.

Android phones don't have great battery life as a rule--if Intel can come in and beat ARM at its own low-powered game when it moves to 22nm production, the smartphone market could suddenly be a two chipmaker game.

The Lenovo K800 is set for release in China during the first six months of the year, but expect to see at least one Intel Android phone on the US market sometime in 2012. Even if Lenovo doesn't bring the K800 stateside, Motorola's promised to deliver at least one this year.