Lenovo K800 Intel Medfield smartphone pros and cons from CES

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Prior to CES 2012 we told you that the annual show would almost certainly reveal a smartphone which runs on an Intel processor and compete directly against ARM, well it turns out that we were correct as Lenovo debuted the K800.

Specs which we can confirm include a 4.5-inch display which outputs at 720p, a single-core 32nm Intel Atom Z2460 (1.6GHz) processor, an 8 megapixel camera on the rear and WCDMA HSPA+, WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS connectivity. The K800 smartphones at CES 2012 all ran Android 2.3 Gingerbread and we’re not sure whether an update to Android 4.0 Ice Scream Sandwich is planned, all we do know is that Lenovo developers have heavily skinned the OS and bundled lots of pre-installed applications. Sometimes skinned’s versions of Android can adversely affect Android user friendliness, also third-party software can often be pretty lackluster, so we have some minor concerns about this aspect of the K800, that said the guys over at Engadget seemed to suggest that the skin didn’t take away from the Android-experience which millions of us now love.

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Currently there is a big question-mark hovering over Intel Medfield performance and power consumption, sadly the sample at CES had no access to the Android market so benchmarking tools couldn’t be installed, however we are told that in SunSpider it slightly outperformed the Galaxy Nexus, if efficiency isn’t great we are glad to reveal that under the battery cover there’s a 1900mAh battery.

If you head over to LaptopMag’s blog you can see a brief hands-on video where we get to see the K800′s great multimedia capabilities, the single-core chip seems no slouch and when panning to different parts of a video there is no lag whatsoever. We also get to see a beautiful-looking gallery app where the user can see captured photos etc, sadly the video is less than two minutes long so there’s not much else on show.

In terms of design the K800 seems a little hit and miss, the soft comfortable finish is complemented by Engadget and so is its ‘noticeably light’ weight. On the top edge there’s a power button, speaker and 3.5mm jack, on the bottom edge there’s a microUSB port and a weird grill which almost looks like a vent for cooling (perhaps this is another speaker, we’re not sure what it is at present) you can see what we mean below.

As previously mentioned the Medfield processor is what people want to know more about, as the K800 is the ‘World’s first Intel-based smartphone’ we don’t yet know how it will compare to ARM, but we think that Mefield’s true potential will show once we see Medfield-based Android 4.0 and WP7 smartphones, also now that we have seen a single-core Intel processor for smartphones we’re sure that a multi-core offering isn’t too far away.

Sadly the K800 won’t arrive in the US, but it should hit China in Q2 2012, hopefully we will see a follow-up device in the near future with LTE connectivity, a multi-core Intel processor, a thinner design and a more up-to-date operating system – if so it could be a formidable smartphone.

Do you think Intel has a strong future in the smartphone market? Are you surprised to see Intel’s first-ever smartphone running Android rather than WP7 given Microsoft’s close relationship with Intel in the past? We sure are! You can see a full gallery of K800 photos here.