Intel Puts Developer Focus on Mobility

Day two of the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing, China, geared its announcements toward the smaller end of the systems scale to complement yesterday’s focus on the desktop and server space.

The next generation of the company’s Centrino mobile processor technology, code-named Santa Rosa, is due in May, with laptops based on the technology expected the same month.

It will consist of a Core 2 Duo processor, the Mobile Intel 965 Express chipset family, Intel Next-Gen Wireless-N Network Connection, gigabit networking and Intel Turbo memory, the latter of which was known as Robson.

Robson uses Flash memory as part of the notebook’s hibernation process. Since powering up the hard drive to emerge from hibernation is both power and time consuming, Turbo memory will reduce the power and time needed to emerge from hibernation.

In the first half of 2008, Santa Rosa will be refreshed with Intel’s Penryn line of 45nm processors, and later in 2008, Intel will deliver “Montevina” processor technology for energy efficiency. The Montevina line of components will be 40 percent smaller than previous generations, making it ideal for mini- and sub-notebooks.

In addition to 802.11N support, Intel announced it would offer WiMAX  for notebooks in 2008, making wireless broadband possible for laptops. WiMAX will be a part of Montevina-based notebooks.

Mike Feibus, president of semiconductor research firm TechKnowledge Strategies, noted Intel is being far more aggressive in its wireless support than it has been in the past. “They were never willing to touch draft G. They didn’t start offering 11G until well after the 802.11 committee ratified it and made it official,” he told

“Intel learned its lesson that time is money in this game,” he continued. “The other thing is consumers are a major driver of wireless demand now, so they are going to want the fastest and the best. Corporate can have a B/G platform and this would be perfectly stable.”

Anand Chandrasekher, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group, announced that Intel and a number of partners planned to establish mobile Internet devices (MID) and ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) categories.

Chandrasekher introduced the Intel Ultra Mobile platform 2007, formerly codenamed McCaslin, for MIDs and UMPCs. Equipment from Aigo, Asus, Fujitsu, Haier, HTC and Samsung in these two categories will begin to appear this summer. Intel will deliver the successor to McCaslin in 2008, codenamed Menlow.

Chandrasekher also announced the formation of the Mobile Internet Device Innovation Alliance to work on developing smaller and more power-efficient form factors.

Feibus said he’s not sold on ultra-portables, like the OQO and FlipStart. “It doesn’t do anything for me, to be honest. I just think it’s in a nether region between feature-rich cell phones and notebook computers. Once a device grows too big to put in your pocket, I’m not sure I see the benefit of a UMPC versus a small form factor notebook,” he said.

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