Hands-on With Orange's Intel-Powered Smartphone

One of the biggest things we were looking forward to prior to Mobile World Congress was the possibility of new Intel-based smartphones. And without fail, the chip maker came through. During a press conference earlier today, Intel announced it will be providing the guts for three new smartphones. Unfortunately for us, none of them have been announced for the U.S. market.

The phones are being produced by three different company's, Europe-based Orange, India-Based Lava and China's ZTE. Both the Orange phone and Laval phone feature the same basic features and specs. We spent some hands-on time with the Orange and model and were extremely impressed with their speed and features. The phones sport an Intel 1.6-Ghz Atom Z2460 processor and features 1GB of RAM and 16GB of on-board storage.

The 4-inch 4.1-ounce Orange smartphone is swaddled in a matte black finish and features smoothly rounded corners. During our hands-on time we the unit, we were struck by how solid it felt. But the real show was under the hood.

It's hard to tell from such a short experience, and a lack of testing, how fast the Intel-based Orange phone is. But during our time with it we found it to be faster than we had expected. We loaded up the racing game "Asphault 6" in a matter of seconds and play without a hint of lag. More impressive, however, was the phone's ability to faster forward and rewind HD videos without a having to buffer or reload the content. The image  managed to keep up no matter how fast we scrolled across the progress bar.

The Orange phone also sports an impressive 8-megapixel camera that is capable of firing off an incredible 10 pictures in just 0.7 seconds. We repeatedly took photos of a moving crowd and were still surprised each time 10 new pictures would show up after pressing the camera button just once. What's more, image quality doesn't take a backseat to the camera's speed. Photos were sharp and offered vibrant colors.

We came away from our hands-on time with the Intel-powered phones with high hopes for the devices. We just hope one is announced for the U.S. market sooner rather than later.