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Intel will finally power LTE phones this year

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Intel logo stock
Intel logo stock

The first phone featuring Intel's next-generation Clover Trail+ Atom was unveiled over a month ago at CES, but today the chip giant is finally ready to announce the details of the new processor, including optional support for LTE. Along with the expected CPU performance gains — the Clover Trail+ is the company's first dual-core processor for smartphones — Intel also claims the chip will has three times the graphical capabilities of its previous chip, which powered the mid-range Motorola Razr i smartphone, as well as a number of carrier-branded devices such as the Orange San Diego. It says its new graphics chip is more powerful than the GPU found in LG's Nexus 4 and Samsung's Galaxy S III. The big announcement, however, was LTE support — a first for Intel.

LTE is coming, but it won't be integrated

LTE won't come in the form of an integrated "one chip" solution as featured in many of Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 chips and Nvidia's new Tegra 4i — instead, Intel is debuting a new standalone chip developed in-house, the XMM 7160, which will be an optional add-on for manufacturers. That's not great news for Intel's would-be partners: integrated LTE tends to draw less power and therefore allow for longer battery life. That said, the company says its chip is "one of the world's smallest and lowest-power" solutions. We'll have to wait to test its claims out for ourselves, as no phones have been announced utlizing its new chip yet.