Since Intel couldn’t convince any major manufacturers that its Atom chips is worthy or competitive enough to be in smartphones last year, it only managed to get no-name companies like Lava or some carriers using their own branding, to sell a few devices with Atom chips. Lava released the Xolo X900 last year, with an Atom “Medield” chip inside, 1024×600 display, 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage, and this year they are releasing a new phone called Xolo X500 that seems to be a downgrade in every way, although it’s also a little cheaper.
The X500 comes with an Atom Lexington, that Intel says is a 1.2 Ghz chip, although they are being purposefully misleading, since its real clock speed must be a lot smaller than that, and it’s probably why TheVerge found it to be so sluggish. The 1.2 Ghz is the Turbo-Boost limit the phone will almost never reach, just like Turbo-Boost is almost never activated on a laptop or PC. Considering it’s almost never used, it’s a pretty elaborate gimmick from Intel to make people think their chips can be significantly faster.
Lexington also has Hyper-Threading, which is a little more useful (10%-15% improvement on average), but it’s nowhere close to having 2 physical cores. It’s just another way of improving the performance of a single core chip, but it’s not replacement for a dual-core chip.
Other specs include:
- 3.5-inch TFT display with 480X320 pixel resolution
- 512MB RAM
- 4GB Internal storage, expandable up to 32GB via microSD
- 5-megapixel camera
- 1,500mAh battery
- Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
The use of Android 4.0 is also pretty disappointing. Although many manufacturers don’t come out with the just released version of Android, I’ve noticed Intel and their partners are usually at least one more version behind. I wonder if it has anything to do with the emulation Intel has to set-up for native ARM apps (those written in C++, not Java). Compare this to MIPS devices, which usually get the very latest version almost immediately after Google releases the source.
The Xolo X500 will cost ~$170 in India, but for what it offers it seems pretty expensive. We’ll see phones this year for the same price or lower that have quad core Cortex A7 CPU’s with much higher performance GPU’s as well, from Mediatek, Qualcomm and others, and Lexington seems far from being competitive with them, in both CPU and GPU performance. I assume for a company like Lava, they imagine that being somehow associated with Intel helps their image somehow, but considering Intel is still falling behind in the mobile market, I don’t see that happening.