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TheStreet Open House

Android May Soon Have 'Intel Inside'

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Intel (INTC) may finally have a big "in" when it comes to getting its processors inside Android devices. To date, ARM (ARMH)-technology- based processors had been the primary engine powering millions of Android devices.

According Reuters, an upcoming Samsung tablet, running Google's (GOOG) Android operating system, will contain a next generation, x86-computer-based Intel Atom processor. That would be significant in a number of ways.

Intel was late to the game. So, they struggled to get a foothold in the world of ARM-based mobile computing - smartphones and tablets. So far, almost every Android devices has included processors utilizing the ARM architecture. Last year, we began to see Intel make their move. A few manufacturers began experimenting with Intel/Android devices. One of them was a Motorola model which went on sale in selected world markets - not in the United States.

Last September, Motorola announced their "RAZR i" smartphone. It was almost exactly the same as the RAZR models they were selling here in the U.S., except for the Intel processor. We were able to get our hands on a test sample and really liked what we saw. The phone was lightweight, quick, offered very, very good battery life and every Android OS program we installed worked perfectly on the x86 platform. For whatever reason though, the "RAZR i" was not brought here.

Things may be looking-up for a sustained Intel and Android pairing. Currently under development, there is rumored (according to a source with knowledge of the plans) to be a version of Samsung's upcoming 10.1-inch, Galaxy Tab3 which will contain an Intel processor codenamed CloverTrail+. The new chip is said to offer even higher performance levels and improved power-saving features.

Another report seems to substantiate the rumor. According to "unnamed sources" the Korea Times says the Samsung/Intel hook-up is a done deal. They've learned that the number of Intel Atom processor experts working with Samsung engineers in Korea has swelled from a small handful to more than 50 in the past few weeks.

This could be the mobile foothold that Intel has been working for, It will give them entree into ARM's current stranglehold inside portable devices as well as be a calling card to get other manufacturers to follow Samsung's lead. It will also lessen Intel's dependency on Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows 8 platform which has provided them with disappointing sales to date.

Not much else is known about Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Tab3 or when and exactly where it might be available here in the United States. But, we're expected to learn more about it possibly at next week's Computex industry show in Taiwan or at a London press conference that Samsung has scheduled for June 20th.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.

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