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Intel's Consequential Smartphone Announcement
CNBC.com | January 11, 2012 | 10:47 AM EST

Even if Motorola's Intel-based phone is cleared to operate on a major U.S. network in time for a Q3 launch, which is no simple task for a phone based on new silicon, it will face off against a new iPhone from Apple . It will also likely contend with new phones from Microsoft's partners.

And then there's the question of performance: Though Intel has told the press that its chips will be able to handle most Android apps built for ARM processors without recompiling, it seems likely that graphics- intensive apps won't run as well.

Then there's the differentiation question: What will Intel Android phones do better than ARM Android? The answer may be web browsing and the handling of HTML5 and JavaScript. That could be a challenge at a time when many consumers judge a phone on its app quickness, not browser speed.

Questions? Comments? TechCheck@cnbc.com And you can follow Jon Fortt on Twitter @jonfortt

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