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Orange Santa Clara runs Intel's Medfield processor, does just fine with Android apps (hands-on video)

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We spent time with the Orange Santa Clara, a new Medfield-powered smartphone coming to the UK and France this summer.

Orange Santa Clara
Orange Santa Clara

Orange announced this morning that it will be the first carrier to bring a phone to market powered by Intel's Medfield processor, with the Santa Clara. We got a chance to play with the phone, and while the phone itself is nothing special the Medfield CPU is pretty remarkable. It's a 1.6GHz Atom Z2460 processor, and it handled everything from playing Asphalt 6 to opening the app drawer with equal aplomb, handling everything smoothly and instantly. In addition to the awesome usability, the Medfield processor's power opens up some fun uses for the phone: it can shoot 10 photos per second in a burst mode, and process them all in about one more second. Orange also showed us a 360 video app that lets you pan around a video, or zoom in and out, and it happened without so much as a hitch.

The Santa Clara — that's a codename, it'll be called something else when it launches — is otherwise a solid, if unremarkable, phone. It's not particularly attractive to look at, and is so light that it actually feels a little flimsy. It has a 4.03-inch, 1024 x 600 display, along with an 8-megapixel camera capable of shooting 1080p video. It's currently running Android 2.3, but Orange promised that a 4.0 update is coming.

The handset also, critically, seems to run Android apps without a hitch. We've had a lot of issues with Android devices powered by alternative or new processors, some of which just aren't able to run a lot of Android apps, but that doesn't seem to be much of a problem here. Orange reps told us that they've worked hard with Intel to ensure that Medfield devices are fully compatible, and it seems like their work has paid off. We played Modern Combat 2, Asphalt 6, and MX Moto Free, and all worked really well; we weren't able to play Oregon Trail: Settler, but that seemed to be due to a connectivity issue rather than the phone's hardware.

The Santa Clara will be available this summer, exclusively in France and the UK. Reps wouldn't share pricing, except to say that it will be very much a high-end device on the network — given how powerful Medfield seems to be, that's not very surprising.