It seems Intel and Microsoft have always been joined at the hip, like Batman and Robin, Fred and Ginger, or Lindsay and vodka. But with the so-called Wintel monopoly a thing of the past, the partnership is under strain. Microsoft last year broke ranks when it tapped ARM chipmakers for some Windows 8 devices, including Surface RT.

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it’s Intel’s turn. At CES on Monday, the company left little doubt that it’s betting much of its future on Google’s Android OS. “We’ve worked very closely with Google to create a highly optimized version of Android for our platforms,” said Mike Bell, general manager of Intel’s mobile and communications group, during a CES presentation. “We even included some Intel-developed technology that lets the majority of Android zaltv applications just run, no matter what platform they were created for.”

Intel used the annual desert tech fest to announce a new generation of Atom chips that will be aimed at what it sees as a huge, untapped market — low cost, but fully featured smartphones. Its new Atom Z2420, or “Lexington” platform, is targeted at emerging markets abroad and eventually at value markets in the United States. Bell said demand for such devices could reach 500 million units by 2015. “It’s one of the fastest growing segments in the mobile device world,” said Bell.