The holy grail for Windows Phone fans is an Intel-based smartphone that runs proper Windows 10 and comes in an ultra-mobile form factor. That future almost arrived with Dell but barriers have stopped this device from reaching the market.
The images you see in this post come from Even Blass who posted the shots up yesterday and after poking around a bit, it looks like these product shots show off a Dell made device (based on sources familiar with the phone) that would be using Intel inside. I don’t have the complete list of specs but knowing it runs on x86 architecture, it’s not too hard to figure out what this device would be capable of doing and why it never materialized.
The device, which is likely impossibly thin for an Intel chip, and it’s also possible that these images are only renders, would have had a companion product like a laptop that maximized what we know today as the Continuum experience. While this device would have come in a phone form factor, it would have been more laptop under the skin that also has cellular connectivity.
But, the silicon that would have been used in this device was killed when Intel abandon its low-end segment and logically, this device would have been a thermal nightmare. We already know that Intel has issues building lower-power processors that run cool enough without a fan and when you put a chip like that inside a very small compartment, it’s a tough scenario for stability.
Internally, Microsoft has considered going down the same route with the much-rumored but never seen, Surface phone. The company has yet to release a Windows Phone with the Surface brand but when they do, it was hoped that they would use an Intel chip to help differentiate its device from other smartphones.
Even though the Elite X3 does deliver on some of the promises of what an Intel-based smartphone could offer, it’s not quite the same. ARM chips, while they have been able to scale-up in power, are still not as good as Intel chips and there is the obvious shortcoming too, it doesn’t run the full desktop variant of Windows 10.
Will this device ever see the light of day? I don’t think so, or at least not in the near future, unfortunately. But, the good news is, if you are a sliver-lining sort of person, is that companies are thinking about unique ways to build Windows phones and while the Intel chips may not be ready today, hopefully we will see something in the future that will fit this form-factor.