Intel colors in Lexington details

MWC 2013: Low cost without the low feature set

Intel - logoThe big news today is Intel launching Clover Trail+, but their Lexington phone is much more significant. Lexington is the low cost reference design, and that means much higher sales than the other variants.

As we mentioned briefly at CES, Lexington is a low cost phone platform meant for the African and Asian markets. Intel released a few more details about Lexington today, and what they did is very interesting. Since the idea is to bring a smartphone to the masses that been previously served by dumb phones, the price has to be fairly low. On the other hand, to tempt them to spends a bit more, you can’t castrate it to to point of being awful, that philosophy has some adverse side effects. The planners behind Lexington seem to “get it” in ways that other parts of Intel doesn’t, see Ultrabooks for more on this.

This time, Intel put in a lower clocked 1.2GHZ Z2420, but it is otherwise the same Medfield platform as the Xolo got last year. The screen is smaller, the construction a little less, well all the intangible ‘feel’ metrics less. Given the intended markets it is probably quite rugged, think material choices, not functional construction.

While the above choices are cost savings, what Intel left in is more instructive. They kept the HSPA+ radio, probably because there was no compatible lesser part, but it still is a very fast 3G modem. On top of this, Intel added dual SIM capabilities along with dual standby and network choice options that lower cost markets demand. They also added an FM radio to the part, again a nod to lower cost markets that demand free content. Both are things that carriers in the first world would never allow to happen, they allow consumers to make intelligent choices about what to pay for and that lessens the “screw them harder” business model of most cell companies.

In a nutshell, Lexington is essentially a slightly slower peak clocked Medfield in a lower cost package. The graphics and imaging functions are the same, but the camera is now a 5MP unit instead of the older 8MP one, hardly an awful number either way. The rest of the imaging features are said to be the same, as is the GPU frequency and unit count. To this Intel added features not found in their bigger brethren. Lexington is hardly a stripper phone, it is solid and will likely meet their goals of tempting dumbphone customers if the price can be kept sane. We think Intel will be right there.S|A

Note: Intel announced three design wins for Lexington, the Etisalat E-20 in Egypt, The Acer Liquid C1 in Asia, and the Safaricom Yolo in Kenya. If you recall, the Medfield reference design was called the Xolo in India. If you get out a map, a ruler, and use the skills of logical deduction that SemiAccurate is known for, in March 2014, Intel will likely launch a slower but more feature filled phone in South America called the Zolo. Don’t forget who brought it to you first, and now you know how we get our famous scoops. :P

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate