This Intel smartphone runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Intel-powered smartphones have yet to officially hit the the streets, but pictures of one allegedly leaked x86-based Motorola device look pretty sweet to us indeed.

According to PocketNow, the slick smartphone will reportedly be Motorola’s first Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich-powered handset, as well as the company’s first Intel-based phone.

As expected, the handset is powered by Intel’s Medfield chipset – instead of Motorola’s typical choice of a Texas Instruments (TI) OMAP ARM processor.

Not much else is known about the enigmatic device, except that it probably will boast a new version of MotoBlur UI, which is slated to debut at the upcoming Mobile World Congress later this month in Barcelona.

The x86-driven camera will also be a major selling point for both Intel and Motorola, as it offers instant-on capabilities along with a 15 frame-per-second burst capture.

Of course, Santa Clara faces quite an uphill climb when it comes to the smartphone and tablet segments, both of which are currently dominated by ARM’s low power-sipping RISC-based architecture.

As veteran tech guru Charlie Demerjian points out, the success or failure of “Intel Inside” smartphones probably rests on fickle “consumer whims.”

“Will people be tempted away from their iToy by a slick Intel Inside logo with an Atom hologram on it? Hell no. Will consumers be tempted to the dark side, err, micro-architecture by visions of 3x CPU power over an ARM A15, or 17x the GPU power of a Tegra? Hell no,” Demerjian wrote in a recent post on SemiAccurate.

“Will consumers care what CPU, GPU, or anything else is in their phone? The overwhelming majority won’t have a clue what you are asking about if you survey them, but ‘Oooh, that one is shiny and the blue LED blinks!'”

Nevertheless, Demerjian believes Intel’s Medfield SoC is competitive with any mobile chip currently on the market.

“[Medfield] has the software support at launch to do what is necessary, and as long as Intel keeps shoveling money at software, things will stay that way. In the end, the crystal ball says that Intel still has a chance, but it is a steep uphill climb,” he explained.

“[Yes], the check boxes are all ticked, and things look positive for launch. [True], the last three attempts to get Atom in to phones were an unmitigated disaster, but things really are different this time. Intel can do well with Medfield and will have some solid products on the market shortly.”

We obviously don’t know for certain, but it seems like the above-mentioned Motorola device could be just what Intel needs to break into the hyper-competitive smartphone market.