Intel's Otellini woos the Venetian

Intel CEO Paul Otellini took to the stage at the Venetian hotel in Vegas to tell the world that it too can play in the smartphone arena. He showed off a couple of Intel-powered smartphones, which,  compared to the mobile devices at the stands of MWC and Computex last year, actually show promise.

Otellini has decided to tackle the smartphone market in China first and foremost – where Intel has carefully been building cosy relationships behind the scenes with the major players. It’s a smart move and a market grossly underestimated by some corners of the industry. Intel knows there is a goldmine in that part of the world. The first Intel architecture phone, the Lenovo’s K800, will debut with China Unicom in Q2 of this year.

Just how well Intel will be able to compete is up for debate. But certainly, Chipzilla and Google have been cosying up over the years, and Windows 8 is going to be another huge opportunity to assert its position in mobile computing.

Although critics have slammed Intel for missing the boat on mobile computing, a spokesperson said to us last year that it’s not about being first to market – it’s about being the best in the market. We will see.

INTC’s head honcho was, predictably, keen to talk up the Ultrabook. They still look rather a lot like the MacBook Air to us, but we and the world have been assured by Intel’s Director of Creative Innovation, Black Eyed Peas pseudo-musician, that they are also “the new ghettoblaster”. 

Kevin Sellers and Karen Regis played around with Ultrabooks to a largely impressed audience, even when using the grotesque Windows 7 touch interface. Kevin’s go on a Windows 8 Ultrabook looked far snappier, and the crowd clapped when Sellers successfully pulled off auto-filling a payment form by tapping an Intel smartphone against the Ultrabook, using NFC.

Either way, those with the cash won’t be short of choice if they do want an Ultrabook. Intel’s $300 million warchest has been helping every manufacturer it can to produce the devices and it’s planning to spend more marketing than ever before on making sure they’re a success. Of course, AMD has its own line of Ultrabooks, it just can’t call them that…