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ZTE's next-generation smartphones to feature Intel's Atom Z2580 SoC

Intel has collected a strategic partner in its efforts to break into the smartphone market, with ZTE announcing that it will use Intel's new Atom Z2580 platform for its next-generation handsets.

ZTE said that it plans to engage with Intel in a "multi-year relationship" that will build upon last year's Grand X IN, the company's first Intel-based smartphone, which is currently available in several European countries.

"The Grand X IN was ZTE's first flagship smartphone in Europe to feature Intel Inside. We've launched it successfully across Europe in strong cooperation with Intel, and as a result have significantly increased our brand awareness in these important markets," Ao Wen, general manager of ZTE Europe's Mobile Devices division, said in a statement.

"We are looking forward to both continuing and broadening the relationship with Intel to support ZTE's growth in the high-performance smartphone market segment. Intel is one of our strategic partners in the development of cutting-edge new mobile technologies."

Intel lifted the curtain on its new Atom Z25xx System-on-a-Chip (SoC) products, including the Atom Z2580, at February's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Formerly code named Clover Trail+, the Atom Z25xx platform is aimed at smartphones and tablets, providing "double the compute performance and three times the graphics capabilities" of first-generation Medfield-class chipsets with comparable battery life, Intel said.

In addition to ZTE, the chip giant said Asus, Lenovo, and others would be building Android-based smartphones and tablets powered by Clover Trail+ chips. The new lineup of 32nm dual-core SoCs includes the 1.2GHz Atom Z2520, 1.6GHz Atom Z2560, and 2GHz Atom Z2580.

The Atom Z25xx platform features Intel's Hyper-Threading technology and the latest graphics solution from the company, which can hit 533MHz with boost mode kicking in and deliver 1080p HD video with 30fps encoding and decoding.

Intel also used its time in the MWC spotlight to introduce a new low-power, multimode-multiband 4G LTE global modem, the Intel XMM 7160, which the company is positioning not just as a laptop solution, but also for smartphones and tablets. It wasn't clear if ZTE plans to incorporate the XMM 7160 into future Atom-based smartphones.

"Our work with ZTE has been instrumental as we work to expand our portfolio of mobile products and bring to market exciting new designs with Intel Inside. It's great to work with ZTE on the new family of Intel Atom processors for smartphones and we're confident that the combination of high performance, competitive battery life, and overall value will be appreciated by consumers," said Hendrik Unkel, a director for marketing and business development at Intel.