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Intel's upcoming Atom x3 processor could be used inside Windows 10-based phones

Intel has announced a new mobile processor family, the Atom x3, that could be used inside smartphones running on Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system.

Intel says:

"Combining 64-bit multi-core Intel Atom processors together with 3G or 4G LTE connectivity, the integrated communications SoC combines the applications processor, image sensor processor, graphics, audio, connectivity and power management components in a single system chipset. This integration allows device manufacturers to deliver full-featured tablets, phablets and smartphones at affordable price points for the rapidly growing entry and value market segments."

Intel says 20 OEMs, including Asus, have plans to launch smartphones with the Atom x3 chip inside. While many, if not most, of those smartphones will likely use Android as its OS, PC World reports that Intel has its eyes set on supporting Windows 10 for phones as well with this chipset. Aicha Evans, the vice president and general manager of Intel's Communication and Devices Group, believes the adoption of Windows 10 for mobile will increase, adding, "We consider that very important,"

All of the smartphones that currently use Windows Phone have processors made by Qualcomm. We will point out that neither Microsoft nor Intel have officially announced plans for any smartphones that will run Windows 10 and use the Atom x3 processor. It's also true that Intel has not had much luck in releasing chips made for the smartphone market in general, as chips with ARM-based architecture dominate that space.

Source: Intel, PCWorld

172 Comments
  • I'd love an Intel powered Lumia!!
  • +1
  • In fact the i386 version of Windows Phone 8.1 exists! Take a look at of one of Visual Studio 2013's components - Windows Phone Virtual OS that runs in Hyper-V Virtual Machine which prerequires a i386 binary of the Windows Phone OS!
  • Lol less than 10% of the people here probably understood you:))
  • ..... yea...... ... exactly!....
  • He means you can emulate Windows Phone 8.1 on a 32-Bit (64 as well) processor (what desktop computers use), so it should be easy to port the ARM version into an x86 version or x86_64 for that matter
  • Hyper-V does not emulate unlike DosBox or SheepShaver. It is just a hypervisor (virtualizer) not an emulator, so you are not emulating ARM binary on i386 but really running i386 binary (of Windows Phone 8.1).
  • There is no need to port. WP is alreay cross-platform as Mac OS X Leopard was (which cross PowerPC and i386).
  • = The WP emulator run on x86.
  • I wouldn't mind one, but not in the low end.
  • Most current Intel benchmarks show higher performance than current Qualcomm counterparts, so this processor should be faster
  • And, it would be cool to get a new high end Lumia with that little "Intel Inside" sticker on it...
    .........
    The true pocket PC❕
  • Even the newly announced Atom X5 nd X7 are slower than the Qualcom Snapdragon 810. The Exynos 7420 (Galaxy S6)  is about 50% faster than Atom X7 as far as CPU performance is concerned. Now the Atom X3, this article talks about, is very low end SoC.
  • +1020
  • It'd be more powerful than ARM, yes?
  • Technically, if your "Lumia 940XL" had this chip it should be able to run legacy applications....
    .........
    It's really not crazy, or wishful, thinking... This could happen..
  • But almost certainly wont.
  • Yet, MS provides a REMOTE DESKTOP app that would be not as good an experience.
  • +720
  • will it be high performance with low power consumption? if yes, it will be great.
  • No, it is a low/midrange SoC
  • Why run "win10 for phones"? Just install an full version of Win 10. Isn't that what we're trying to get to anyways?
  • Well yes, but UI has to be different. There for Windows 10 for Phones
  • Nope, it's Windows 10 which adopts for the form factor of 7inch or smaller
  • Not what I want, its a phone after all. If I wanted a Pocket PC I'd buy a 2 in 1 laptop.
  • Good luck putting it in your pocket
  • Ummmmmm... I disagree.. Android is more pocket PC than WP right now...
    .......
    I want WP to be the true pocket PC.
    .......
    Wouldn't it be cool if MS gave us the option to have "DualMode" on high end devices❓ Think about it.. You could switch between mobile, and desktop..... I don't see why they would be against desktop view on a 6" screen.... They actually already supply us with a remote desktop app,, which essentially already does this........ Hey❗ Maybe MS is planning on building remote desktop into WP10... It's a lot to think about, but a lot can be done now.
  • I'd you think Android is a pocket PC then you've never had a pocket PC
  • No, No, No... I said More than WP.... Which isn't saying a $hit ton..
    But actually, there's some things that Android devices do that WP should be able to do....
    USBOTG
    Keyboard support
    Mouse support
    HDMI out... Just saying
    OB system diagnostic tools, which are seriously cool if you've seen them.
  • Yeah it's asinine how Windows Mobile had HID support then they removed it for Windows Phone.
  • HID❓❓
  • Human Interface Device --- keyboard, mouse
  • You could use a Keyboard, or mouse, with WM.
  • you can actually use keyboard with wp bruh.
  • Huuuhhh??
  • And also very important, LAN support... I still wish they'll include it in WP10... I'm not asking to do it nativelly, but at least allow the easy development of apps that do this.
  • That's right, I don't even use a pc or laptop or tablet anymore. Now with 140gb on onedrive and 128gb SD, I don't need a tablet anymore, what I need is a phone with full PC functionalities. I also need a smartwatch with full smartphone functionalities. Come on, a 2" smartwatch with a lumia 435 hardware, and a pen like on win mobile should be a must today.
  • If you use a phone exclusively instead of a pc or a tablet you either have extremely limited needs or are missing out on nearly everything. the Post PC era was an Apple RDF marketing hoax, snap out of it.
  • Thats the point, they want us to buy a smatwatch, a phone, a tablet, a pc, a console... And if you look closely, most of tasks you perform on either platform, are the same... Seriously, 80-90% of users out there could do fine with a simple smartwatch completely capable of doing everything for urgent tasks, and a bigger screen like a smartphone or tablet for more comfort and power apps. Hardware wise its possible, look at galaxy gear S... But these mudders don't want to put in the software. And dont come with hardware limitations and bs, I had my 3" 240p PDA windows mobile and I was doing great, so why shouldn't we do great with 2,5" 480p....
  • Then don't put x86 chips into phones.
  • Actually, at work everyone carries a laptop, and i generally use my 1520,, and with the current office experience... Hololens could make a smartphone even more useful as a full PC.... Never doubt technology..
  • NIST.... SMH... Really❓
  • Yep. Same kernal, one app across all devices, Bluetooth keyboard, wireless hdmi... The phone part is an easy function.
  • I know, NIST.. I'm with you.. Just being facetious..
    .....
    But, there's no reason why this time next year WP shouldn't be considered the most capable smartphone you can buy... It happened with Surface overnight, and if MS is serious about High End WP10 devices, then they will do the same for Lumia's....
    .........
    This would mean super powerful photo editing software for your 1040, NIST❗
  • if it doesn't support desktop and x86 programs. We don't need it. We don't need the fragmentation.
  • Desktop application on a phone with a display < 6"? Really?  
  • We need it all............
    ........
    "We don't need"=WP7.0 attitude.... That didn't fly.
  • Now make it able to run windows desktop when hooked up to external screen and Microsoft wins Posted via the Windows Central App for Android on my Oneplus One
  • Yes! Modern UI for phone, but full desktop with external monitor support! And likely only Intel can deliver the hardware to achieve that!
  • Ditto. I think its been coming... But these two players had to get their ducks in a row and guns aligned. Microsoft and Intel would make me quite happy indeed.
  • I wouldn't mind one theoretically. But I'm going to need to see some benchmarks first. I personally wouldn't be early adopter on this, even if it is intel. I think I'd rather see nvidia do more work on tegra so they aren't confined to tablet only.
  • I totally agree!
  • seems faster 
  • Yes please. Yes please.
  • Are you looking forward to a Windows Phone with a fan? lol
  • @cybersaurusrex:
    I'm the Windows (Phone) fan!
  • Like the first Gen i7 fan
  • No fan needed. The Atom powered tablets don't need them so I doubt this would either.
  • I wish they could make a phone that runs desktop win10 .... when you connect to dock users will be able to use mouse and keyboard. Just like Ubuntu is planning to develop one
  • Yes please! Take my money already ...
  • Even though , it wont be as advanced as snapdragon's processors I don't mean power , but I mean secondary features Like 4K playback , continuity, and the feature that is announced today "ultra-sonic fingerprint" No company can face Qualcomm
  • If that's the case (specially about 4k recording and playback), unless Intel does something better than what the Snapdragon 810 does, then I think Microsoft should stay with Qualcomm
  • I suspect Microsoft could develop the OS more quickly if it was all x86, no ARM to worry about.
  • Except then we would have to have av
  • No.  x86 does not mean "virus".  Linux, Unix, and Mac OS all run on x86.  The amount of malware that exists for an OS is directly related to how open it is (in the sense of being able to install whatever you want or configure however your want) and the popularity of the OS.  That makes general purpose OSes vulnerable in order of most populate to least popular.  So Windows, OS X, Linux based, and Unix based in that order.  Mobile OSes are locked down pretty tight by design and shouldn't have much of a malware issue at all (which makes Android look pretty bad in comparison). MS could still have an x86 version of Windows for mobile that only runs Store apps.  It would be just as locked down and just as virus resistant as WP or Windows RT is now.  The underlying hardware is irrelevant.
  • Crikey, I am not used to reading people on here post sensible - articualte, and accurate posts. Wel done you, here, have a cookie.   O           Correct. For mobile "DESKTOP" has to go. Including Tablets. This all hingers on Office which is just about ready. The pieces are finally falling into place for Microsft. Intel just needs to fall into place as well to face off ARM. Intereested to see if Chipzilla can do it.
  • We're yet to hear about the details of the capabilities of an Atom X3 processor though.. I doubt they'll enter the market with anything less powerful than its competitor.
  • In raw power, atoms>snapdragons. They just need to add some stuff to the actual SoC to marc mobile-specific SoC's
  • The future seems bright!!
  • Atom x3 for flagship phone?
  • Then people complain why Gameloft games don't look or work right lol
  • Nope, Atom x7 for flagship phone is more reasonable.
  • Not yet. These are all entry level products. Meant to go against the Snapdragon 200/400 series. LTE version is due later this year, maybe ready for Win 10 for phones.
  • I'd rather see Qualcomm, they are far more advanced than any other for mobiles.
  • Intel chips offer better performance even though they are dual core compared to Qualcomm
  • Do they offer 4k recording and playback? If not, as a happy 1020 owner, I'd rather see a Qualcomm chip in the 1030
  • Hm, doesn't sound right to me... More power would be welcome every second of smartphone usage; 4k recording would be useful a tiny fraction of the time spent with your device, going towards zero for me and many others...
  • Needs to support 4k recording, external sound, wireless recording, extremely good battery life or swappable batteries, better than FHD display, manual touch focusing while recording video, white balance adjustment and gamma adjustment for video.
  • I am tired of this 4k , how many of u have 4k tv/monitors to enjoy a clip in 4k ?
  • Probably none of them.  That's why I went to the iPhone.  I'm more content with Apple dictating to me what I need than these people.  The Inmates are running Microsoft's Asylum, with this idiotic Feedback site they have up (which may just be for propaganda reasons, but I think it's a bad idea especially with the demographic buying most of their phones being completely opposite of the demographic most likely to camp that site upvoting the ideas they agree with). The reason why this OS gained a reputation as a featureless bastard platform is because people were too worried about niche features like that instead of making sure Microsoft covered the basics.  It will take them years at this point even to catch up to iOS in feature set/capabilities, and that not assuming Apple will actually improve their platform in further releases. Microsoft has spent more time backtracking, resetting, or rebuilding stuff than actually improving stuff.
  • I would actually like to see a high clocked dual core flagship, like the Nexus 9 tablet. 3Ghz dual core, maybe.
  • They have hyper threading hence there are two physical cores and four logical cores
  • Exactly what I said !
  • Me too, hopefully Intel can match them soon enough and then they can switch over to using intels processors if they want.
  • But with Intel you can dock the phone to external monitors, keyboard, mouse, usb hub... and run full desktop... Your phone is your pc.
  • Want in Lumia 1540,badly
  • Looking forward to my new 940XL running the Atom X3 processor and 64bit Windows 10.
  • It is not for 940. It is a value chipset. Lumia 940 would need an high end mobile SoC.
  • Intel ain't for mobile
  • Windows ain't for mobile. Sounds like a pair made in heaven
  • Neither is Windows, according to popular opinion. I hope both are proven wrong.
  • I suppose that not exist more Lumia 1xxx, only news 940 and 940 XL.. And I'd liked see one with Intel inside
  • YES, YES, YES, YES...........ITS HAPPENING..........ITS HAPPENING..........ITS HAPPENING..........ITS HAPPENING..........ITS HAPPENING..........ITS HAPPENING..........ITS HAPPENING..........ITS HAPPENING..........ITS HAPPENING..........ITS HAPPENING..........ITS HAPPENING..........ITS HAPPENING..........ITS HAPPENING..........
  • That folks, is what she said.
  • Is there even going to be a Windows 10 for mobile version for x86 architecture? As far as I know, the current WP 8.1 runs only on ARM architecture. At least I'm not aware of any counter examples. Does anybody have anything to comment on this?
  • Embedded probably does though it probably has never been used
  • Windows compiles for both x86 and ARM. This applies to both SKUs, Windows Mobile (phone) and full Windows.
  • Cool
  • I'd be interested if were better all round than Qualcomm's offerings. But thinking that won't be the situation right now.
  • Support for more processors is actually good for Windows Phone. It will give OEMs more flexibility in offering products at various price points and capabilities. Intel might not (currently) have the most powerful image processor like Qualcomm but if the user cares for more processing power and is willing to compromise on high end imaging features, I think he/she should be allowed that option. Read that AMD has started making mobile APUs as well. Since Windows 10 basically shares the same kernel and driver framework as its main desktop counterpart, it should not pose a huge problem for MS to optimize it for all these SoCs unless I'm missing something technical.
  • Instruction set of ARM and x86 is completely different. So microsoft would or may have to re-compile some of the components (except kernel and other common stuffs) into binaries for x86 processors.
  • Recompiling code is super easy (it's done by the compiler software not a human).  Re-writing code is difficult and time consuming, but in most cases that wouldn't be needed.  MS already has hardware abstraction layers for the Windows NT kernel on both ARM and x86.  They also have APIs compatible with both ARM and x86 for mobile (i.e. Metro) apps.  Firmware of course would have to be written to match the hardware, but that would be specific to the phone anyway.  Basically, it would be pretty easy for MS to move Windows phones and related apps to x86 because everything from the kernel up has been designed for this from day 1.  Moving the desktop compatible software to ARM however would be far more challenging.
  • Exactly. They can dump legacy desktop code support for screens less than 8 inches. The OS can be made to run either on x86 or ARM just fine.
  • Question is ... Can I overclock it? ...
  • Someone has to test this. Power user tweaks on a smartphone will be an interesting area.
  • Ugh, more Intel. I don't like Intel.
  • Stop being Judgemental. If you are here for innovation of tech, you wouldn`t be soo judgemental
  • I'm here for tech. But yes I despise Intel. And they need to drop there (i) naming scheme. I'm allowed to voice my opinions.
  • I would love to hear your opinion !! But your comment "I don't like Intel " just coz it's Intel isn't even a opinion ! It's criticism without any reason !
  • Because there just another company that pulls the same crap as nvidia and google. Take that as you will.
  • heard something from someone at Intel that suggests this is a possibility
  • I know It's super stupid to ask, but could 64 bit Windows 10 give desktop apps the ability to run on phones on the long term?
  • Not the 64bit, technically -- it's more the Intel architecture that would allow this.
  • that would be too damn awesome
  • Right.  x86  or x86-64 based "Intel compatible" hardware would make this possible.  Some day.
  • Why mediatek chipsets are not supported by windows platform ?
    It will help to decrease manufacturing costs plus performance of those chips are good enough for gaming.
  • They just aren't as good, right now. We can already get inexpensive Snapdragon devices.
  • "for the rapidly growing entry and value market segments." Too bad all I buy are top tier/flagship devices :/ Perhaps they will release an upgraded version yet...
  • I think that one day I will be able to buy a Windows powered phone and use it as a phone when I'm out and about and then plug it in to a docking station and use it as a desktop when I'm at home. It might even slot into a tablet screen and power that in a similar way to ASUS Padfone does. I can see that Microsoft tried to do that with Windows RT but failed,  ARM chips just aren't beefy enough to power anything more demanding than a tablet. Perhaps Intel can improve their chips to make them better phone components?
  • Why on earth anyone still thinks this is a good idea is beyond me. People want purpose built machines now. I don't need my phone being a desktop because I want my desktop to be a desktop. There are simply too many compromises in trying to have a "do-it-all" device.
  • Not true at all.
  • Our phones are what they are now, because people wanted more than just a phone.
  • I'm with ya, tired of having 3 devices... All I need is my phablet + dock. ( and Xbox)
  • I find this to be very interesting, and probably the best thing I've heard from MS since WP8 in 2012.  
  • The last thing I wanted to see I the "Intel inside" printed at the back cover....
  • Haha like the Motorola RAZR i
  • ARM architecture mobile devices will get some of the W11 features..
  • Does atom processor have Intel hd graphics? If yes then please no.
  • Is the pope catholic? Come on, of course it will.
  • It would be cool for windows tablets, but for phones I'd rather stick with Qualcomm & avoid all the potential compatibility issues with existing apps.
  • Can't wait for my phone + dock to be my desktop!  That is the real promise of Windows 10 on Intel architecture.
  • Intel shouldn't worry as much about phones (yet), I would much rather they put their effort into making affordable CPUs that has 3G/LTE, passive listening and biometric authentication integrated. Why? So we could have tablets and laptops that are truly mobile, secure and in-line with the direction Windows 10 is heading (with Cortana, cloud integration, etc). 
  • Competition
  • Eh, not going to happen. They will use Qualcomm Snapdragon processors like they always have.
  • Maybe htc or Samsung might use it..
  • This would be great if they include a laptop dock with the phone that would allow you to run X86 programs.
  • Nice nice. Microsoft needs to end this partnership with Qualcomm and should let on in mediatek, nvidia, exynos, powerVGR GPUs and this Intel atom chips along with Qualcomm. Maybe OEMs will make more phones running Windows then.
  • Looking forward to this. If I can make a call I'm happy.
  • What about app compatibility (since windows phone apps are made for the arm snapdragon?)
  • No they are compiled in C# and if its universal will suffer nothing from this.
  • Most (demanding) games are C++. So you will have a compatibility problem with x86 SoCs.
  • Yes and when you make a universal app...bam no problems.  Direct x and xaml with C++ is a universal app available project.  So there should be no problems.
  • We are talking about existing apps. And even universal apps from today do not have an x86 path for Windows Phone.
  • It would make sense to go with Intel chip for windows phone....but just hope those chip comes with good ass graphics
  • Cool. But make an affordable flagship
  • At this point, id rather see a Tegra X1 on Windows Phone. Bring on NVIDIA only games. That could potentially draw more people to the platform.
  • Phone running my .Net and Oracle applications on Windows 10. My dream phone is getting closer.
  • An allegiance forged in desperate times. Could be good for both.
  • That "could be"?  I could be singing lead with the Temptations if I could sing.   How is this Windows CENTRAL when we simply don't know anything for sure or have to wait until the verge gets around to publishing the story? 
  • Come on Surface Phone Pro.
  • WP on an Atom processor. Even Microsoft would have to love that because they can go full Intel with the Lumia line of phones with a continual upgrade path.
  • Interesting. Intel really need to make some headway in the mobile space. This could be great for them.
  • I love to see that, finally Microsoft likely to take good decision,me too thinks latest Intel processors for phones is better than Qualcomm. Microsoft please make windows phones with Intel chipset.
  • MS putting state of the art chips on windows phone lol lol. yeah right.
  • IF they get close to ARM Performance/Power consumption then this will be a thing. So far they haven't.
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 with Intel chipset, 200gb SD card support, and hololens.
  • I don't really see Microsoft moving away from their partnership with Qualcomm.  I doubt this chip will change anything.  To be totally fair... the new Mediatek processors could be used to power a Windows 10 device.  Hell... It could be said that the new Exynos chip could be used for a WP10 device.  
  • About time sunshine. Finally Intel got the finger out. This CPU should be in the marked for 3-4 years ago.  Intel's inability to deliver a good and efficient Phone/tablet CPU (besides Steve Ballmer  sleeping at the job), has been the biggest reasons for Microsoft's lost of marked share in mobile segment. Because Microsoft has been too entagled with Intel's CPU architecture to be able to port it's Operative System to other architectures easily. The Windows RT is good evidence of that failed attempt.  Microsoft had to deal with 3 Operative Syetems becouse Intel couldn't deliver this  mobile CPU in time.  
  • They lost market share in the mobile segment because they had the dead wrong vision of what a mobile device should be (windows mobile), and Apple took things in the right direction with a touch screen and an OS built from the ground up around touch interface.  MS was fixated on the idea that they needed to have a physical keyboard or stylus with windows mobile. Apple was using intel processors in their computers, didn't stop them from making the iPhone and iPad.  
  • Microsoft had a touch screen and a mobile OS for touch interface too actually. But MS had problems with developing a good mobile OS, because they had to build it from ground up around a new architecture. While all their expertize and experience was entirely based on Intel's x86 architecture, from the start to the bitter end. But Apple had it's own CPU and architecture for a good while and wasn't so entirely entangled in Intel's architecture. Of course, Steve Ballmer was sleeping too, he did a really lazy job with adapting the company to this new reality too. Microsoft problems started when they had to built a Mobile OS from the ground up around a new architecture. But that wasn't the whole problem, they had to build another one (Windows RT) for tablets too. If this Intel x86 Mobile CPU was in the marked in time, then Microsoft wouldn't need all those de-tours into alien architectures.
  • What are you talking about?  Apple had to build a mobile OS from the ground up with new architecure too- Apple and MS were in the exact same boat!  Apple was using IBM Power Pcs before they switched to Intel, and the iPods were not using the SOCs that would be in the iPhones.   MS had trouble building a new OS because they lacked the vision and execution to do so. Are you going to try and tell me that Google had its "own CPU and architecture" too, and that they didn't have to deal with "alien architectures" like microsoft?  Microsoft had the wrong vision of the future, plain and simple.  Balmer has been the scapegoat but even Bill Gates thought tablets should be running a desktop OS and feature a pen input.  You can hear him talk about this during the joint interview with Steve Jobs (All Things Digital).
  • Windows RT is just full Windows compiled for ARM. There was hardly any extra effort except porting parts of the Kernel.
  • Now we talking... Surface phone ( note we should probably wait for v3 )
  • Alright, to make it final... Which one? Intel or Qualcomm? </