World’s first smartphone powered by Intel’s Medfield processor goes on sale, but only in India

Lava Xolo X900 Intel MedfieldFollowing a rumor that the first smartphone powered by Intel’s Medfield processor would be released this week, little-known handset manufacturer Lava International has become the very first company to put a phone with Intel inside on sale, but unfortunately the Xolo X900 will only be sold in India.

Intel has been looking to break into the smartphone market for sometime, but has never quite managed to come up with the goods, until that is, the appearance of the Medfield processor. Designed specifically for mobile, Intel wants to challenge ARM’s dominance in the industry using the Atom-based, low power-consumption chip.

Initially seen in the so-called “reference design” handset just before Christmas, the first phones using the Medfield processor tentatively appeared at CES and Mobile World Congress earlier this year.

Lenovo’s K800 was tipped to be the first device to go on sale, while UK network Orange snapped up Intel’s reference design, codenamed it the Santa Clara, and hinted at a summer 2012 release date.

Motorola and ZTE have also announced their intention to make Intel-powered phones, and LG has been rumored to join them, but other than a leaked snap of the Motorola phone, nothing official has appeared.

Xolo X900

So it’s Lava International with its Xolo X900 smartphone that has beaten all of them to the gate. This isn’t some early announcement with no street date either, as the Xolo X900 will be available to buy from April 23, when it will cost 22,000 rupees, or about $425 SIM-free.

Like Orange, Lava chose to adapt Intel’s reference design for the X900, and therefore it has a 4-inch, 1024 x 600 LCD touchscreen, an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording, Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread, NFC and 16GB of internal memory.

Of course, the standout feature is the 1.6Ghz single-core Atom processor, backed up by 1GB of RAM. Lava also says an update to Android 4.0 will arrive later in the year too.

As few outside of India will have heard of Lava International, it’s unlikely the X900 will ever find its way out of the country, and as Lenovo’s K800 could only launch in China, those of us in North America and Europe are still waiting to hear about our first Intel Medfield phone.

Motorola seems the most obvious candidate to provide such a device, with ZTE close behind, but it will probably be Orange and its Santa Clara in second place.

Yes it’s still early days, but if Intel truly wants to take on ARM, then it’s not only going to have to push Motorola a little harder, but also attract some more big-name manufacturers too, as a few localized handsets and a carrier-specific phone just won’t be enough to gain the market share they so obviously desire.