Intel Announces New Smartphone Partnerships With Lava, ZTE, And Visa

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We’ve already caught wind of the Lenovo K800 and Orange’s newly-announced Santa Clara but Intel CEO Paul Otellini isn’t content to leave their push into mobile at that.

Otellini has just announced that Intel has entered into partnerships with a handful of companies in hopes of solidifying their place in the smartphone market. Among those new partners are relative unknowns like Lava International, to major players like ZTE and Visa.

Lava’s first Intel-powered smartphone offering is dubbed the Xolo X900 (pictured left), which Intel seems to hope will give the company a stronger presence in the Indian market.

It’s a huge growth opportunity for Intel — Otellini noted that India’s smartphone market has recently tripled, and according to Lava International co-founder Vishal Sehgal, there’s a significant difference between India’s smartphone and feature phone customers. Otellini and Sehgal presumably hope to wow those Indian smartphone shoppers with a bit of horsepower, as the X900 sports a 1.6GHz Medfield chipset and a graphics processor running at over 400MHz.

ZTE will help Intel push into China with their own Medfield device, though Executive VP He Shiyou didn’t offer up any specifics beside a vague 2H 2012 release window. With these two new additions, Intel now has four smartphone manufacturers taking significant interest in their mobile platform, a far cry from their stance last year.

With that, of course, comes new chip offerings from Intel. First up, the current Z2460 chip will now be able to clock speeds of up to 2GHz, while the lineup has been filled out with new chips like the Z2580 chip and the Z2000. The Z2580 is said to double the performance of its predecessor, along with adding support for LTE. Meanwhile, the Z2000 is meant for lower-end handsets, clocking in at 1GHz.

Of course, it would be awfully short-sighted of Intel just to target OEMs. The smartphone market rookie needed something else to bolster their status as a contender, and to that end Otellini was joined by Visa President John Partridge to announce a multi-year partnership to bring mobile payments to smartphones that use Intel’s mobile platform. Intel’s current reference design packs support for Visa’s payWave contactless mobile payment system.

These new partnerships have added a bit of wind to Intel’s sails, and according to Otellini, their mobile future is looking bright. When asked what it would take for big hardware vendors like Samsung and LG to make the switch to Intel’s chips, he noted that the chips they have in production were enough to “light a fire” under them.