ZTE to add Intel inside with Atom Processor Z2580 phones

Intel Atom Processor Z2580
Hot on Intel's Clover Trail+

At the heart of ZTE's next-generation smartphones will be Intel's dual-core Atom Processor Z2580 processor, the Chinese company announced this week.

This strategic partnership incorporates the fastest of the three Clover Traill+ CPUs announced at Mobile World Conference 2013, with a clock speed of 2.0 GHz.

That's significantly speedier than the last-generation 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Z2460 processor that ZTE put into its first Intel smartphone, the Android-based ZTE Grand X IN.

At the same time, ZTE said that next-generation Z2580-based phones will be able to "deliver the same competitive battery life".

"The platform's dual-core processor with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology provides double the compute performance and up to 3x graphics capabilities over the Intel Atom Z2460 processor," said ZTE in a press release.

Four Leaf Clover Trail+ relationship

ZTE said that it will build on the success of the Grand X IN, but didn't reveal whether or not its next-generation Intel smartphones will be Android-powered and has yet to announce any other specifications.

"The Grand X IN was ZTE's first flagship smartphone in Europe to feature Intel Inside," said ZTE Europe Mobile Devices General Manager Ao Wen.

"We've launched it successfully across Europe in strong cooperation with Intel, and as a result have significantly increased our brand awareness in these important markets."

Governments have been less than thrilled with the the Chinese manufacturer, but Intel seems smitten with its continued relationship with the company.

"ZTE is a fast growing global handset maker that strives to create products with features and capabilities that people care most about," said an Intel spokesperson to TechRadar.

"We share a similar goal in that our focus is on providing customers with compelling Intel technology options that ultimately translate into great products and user experiences."

Intel finally inside more smartphones

With the exception of the Grand X IN, ZTE has been using other semiconductor chipset makers for phones like the ZTE Grand S, ZTE Grand Memo and FireFox OS-running ZTE Open.

However, Intel is taking steps to rival Qualcomm Snapdragon and ARM Cortex processors and make itself a bigger player in the mobile space.

When TechRadar asked about the timing of its move, an Intel spokesperson said: "There is a tremendous amount of innovation happening in the market segment and the landscape is continually evolving.

"Computing is also becoming more and more prevalent in smartphones and we see this as a natural extension of Intel technology. We see tremendous opportunity ahead."

Matt Swider