Intel’s making some headway in the mobile chip race. After launching its single-core Clover Trail platform in 2012, the company showed off its next-generation, dual-core Clover Trail+ CPU here at Mobile World Congress 2013. Available in speeds of 1.2-, 1.6- and 2-GHz, the chip will power Lenovo’s K900 full HD phone, among other products. In addition to going hands-on with the K900, we also had a chance to see Intel’s Clover Trail+ reference design phone in action.
The phone’s design is nothing to type home about, with a simple black chassis, dual-cameras and a 720p screen, but it’s not made to go to market, only to show the raw processing power of the 2-GHz Intel Atom Z580 chip inside. Intel’s Matt Dunford showed us how the Android 4.1 phone can run complex 3D graphics. We watched as he fired up a demo of the Unreal 3 gaming engine for Android and ran a benchmark showing that the phone produced a 60 frame-per-second output in the demo’s 3D world.
We had the chance to use the same “Citadel” demo, which lets you walk around a 3D castle grounds with a first-person view, and we were impressed with the smoothness of the motion and the level of detail in the textures. While this wasn’t a real game, it’s clear that Clover Trail+ CPUs have more than enough oomph to play graphically demanding titles. Dunford also told us that the processor should help improve browser responsiveness while providing strong battery life.
We look forward to seeing more Clover Trail+ phones in the near future. Though the U.S. has yet to get any Intel-powered phones, we could be seeing some this year as the chipmaker has finally launched its own compatible LTE modem, which will allow its platform to be used on America’s fastest networks.