RealTime IT News

Intel Hails Convergence, New Technology

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- With the impending convergence of computing and communications devices, Intel President and COO Paul Otellini today described a variety of new technologies that will add revolutionary functions and features to current Intel products, enabling users to compute and communicate more effectively.

With the recent widespread deployment of wireless networking cards and handheld technologies with similar Wi-Fi capabilities, Otellini said that convergence is rapidly being embraced by computer users and is developing into a mainstream trend. He estimated that the number of wireless handheld devices could exceed 2.5 billion by 2010, and noted that the demand for these devices necessitates a fundamental shift in the way Intel develops technology for consumers as a whole.

"As convergence becomes more mainstream, we are committed to delivering fundamental technologies to enable greater productivity and better experiences for computer users," he told an audience of about 3,000 during the opening address of Intel Developer Forum Fall 2003 here. "We're not just going upward in gigahertz, but we have to deliver a breadth of devices and functions, too."

Otellini's comments echoed the sentiments that Intel CEO Craig Barrett shared with developers at the Intel Developer Forum in February of this year. In the wake of that event, Intel revealed its Centrino wireless platform and PXA 800F "Manitoba" chip. This time around, Otellini explained that the company's newest technologies will improve security, reliability, and media processing, employing techniques such as Hyper-Threading and parallel computing to maximize performance even more.

Otellini dubbed these technologies "the T's," and noted that the closest technology to market is a development known as "LaGrande." According to Otellini, this technology is an enhancement to Intel processors, chipsets and platforms that would protect against software-based attacks on computer systems of every kind. The technology prevents hacker intrusion on the hardware level, protecting the security of critical information while preserving the privacy rights of computer users, too.

"The problem with always being connected is that you're always connected to the bad guys as well as the good ones," remarked Otellini, who added that LaGrande could be ready for implementation by as early as the end of next year. "At a time when the 'virus of the week' seems to plague us all, making our computing devices more secure through the addition of hardware-based security must become a top priority."

Intel developers also are working on a separate technology code-named "Vanderpool," a new performance enhancement that enables multiple, independent software environments in a single PC. As Otellini described it, this technology enables users to partition their home computers just as a network administrator might partition a mainframe-class system, increasing reliability and speeding the ability to recover from computer crashes.

During his keynote, Otellini and other Intel officials also revealed a prototype of a device he called the "Universal Communicator." The device, a cellular phone with handheld capabilities and a video camera, also possesses the capacity to stream audio and video wirelessly, in real-time, to a PC or other large-screen media device.

New products are only one piece of the development puzzle, and Otellini explained advanced silicon technology will allow Intel to pack even more new features and functions onto chips as Intel makes them exponentially smaller. Developers with the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company currently are working to develop 65-nanometer (nm) chips by 2005, 45-nm chips by 2007, and 32-nm chips by 2009. By 2011, the company expects to have a semiconductor with circuitry 22 nanometers wide -- smaller than a single molecule of human DNA.

To demonstrate Intel's progress in developing these new chips, Otellini showing the crowd an Intel silicon wafer built on the next-generation 65-nanometer manufacturing process. "This is the future," he said proudly to a chorus of "oohs" and "aahs" that echoed throughout the McEnery Convention Center downtown. "We are committed to bringing technologies to market that end-users can use today."

In an attempt to address the convergence of computing with broadband, Otellini said the company also is focusing its technologies and products on three areas that will provide significant opportunities for the IT and consumer electronics industries: enterprise computing, mobile Internet clients, and the digital home.

Product highlights from Intel in the enterprise computing area include plans to introduce a dual-core Intel Xeon processor MP code-named "Tulsa," and a multi-core Intel Itanium processor code-named "Tanglewood," among others. In the realm of mobile clients, the company is focusing on common software that can run across multiple platforms to enable a seamless computing-communications experience.

Intel's involvement with organizations such as the Digital Home Working Group also has helped shape technology specifications that benefit consumers in the digital home. Otellini cited the development of Digital Transmission Content Protection over Internet Protocol (DTCP/IP) technology by Intel and other companies as an example of developments that eventually will enable home users to wirelessly share protected entertainment content among a variety of devices securely. Down the road, he said, this technology is likely to be a cornerstone to expanding digital home entertainment.