Another glimmer of hope for Windows Phone: It can work on phones with Intel x86 chips
Smartphones with Windows 10 Mobile and Intel x86 chips could be around the corner
After years, the wait for Intel-based Windows smartphones could be coming to an end.
The Windows 10 Mobile OS—popularly known as Windows Phone—can now run on x86 chips, according to a Microsoft Web page. It’s the first version of Windows Phone to be compatible with x86.
The information on the website was confirmed by a Microsoft spokeswoman as being accurate. Up to now, Windows smartphones have only run on ARM-based chips from Qualcomm.
Intel and Microsoft last year joined forces in an effort to get device makers to bring Windows 10 to low-cost smartphones and phablets that would run on the chip-maker’s Atom X3 chips.
Devices with Windows 10 Mobile can have screen sizes up to 7 inches and a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels.
Intel had said Atom X3 smartphones would be priced as low as $75. But the current version of the chip is only 3G capable, which may have caused mobile phone makers to hesitate—so far, no handset manufacturer has come out with a Windows phone running on the Atom X3.
Faster Atom X3 chips with integrated LTE capabilities will be in handsets this year, however.
Microsoft and Intel for years have wanted to build an alliance in smartphones along the lines of the partnership that made both companies successful in PCs. But Intel was underwhelmed by the adoption of Windows Phone, which was in just 31.3 million, or 2.2 percent, of the smartphones that shipped worldwide in 2015, according to IDC.
Microsoft and Intel declined to provide further comment on Windows 10 Mobile on x86 smartphones, or when handsets would come to the market.
There are only a handful of Intel-based smartphones in the market today, and they all run Android. Intel has in the past said that it believes the adoption of Windows Phone will grow, and that it wants to make its chips compatible with all OSes.