Your Notebook and Smartphone are Talking

SAN FRANCISCO — Intel is aligning its chips and related technologies to help your laptop and handset get to know each other a little better.

While conversations between PCs and phones are quite commonplace, the chatter usually takes place over a wired cradle or a Bluetooth connection. But Intel is approaching the situation with a combination of homegrown GPRS /EDGE /W-CDMA handset platforms running next to Pentium processors with Wi-Fi enabled Centrino chipsets.

“It would be really good if these two platforms could talk to each other and be much more aware of each other’s presence,” Intel’s new Mobility Group manager Sean Maloney said during his keynote at the Intel Developer’s Forum here.

The combination is part of a new concept the company calls “one logical device.” Basically, a cell phone, notebook, PDA, or any combination of the three can perform automatic interactions just by being in close proximity. Maloney said the new vision is initially targeted for a traveling executive or commuter with extra time on his or her hands.

For example, a camera phone can transfer photos to the laptop and into the right application just by getting the handset in close enough range to be identified by the PC.

“If the world plays out the way it should, there will be more and more applications incorporated into the data transfer system such as address books,” Maloney said.

In another demonstration, Maloney was able to establish a high-speed data connect to the Internet on a laptop from a wireless presence connection supplied by the handset. For the entertainment-minded, Maloney also showed how a subscriber to a satellite radio service could transfer music and other data from their digital radio to a device like a phone or a PDA.

“What is happening here is that mobility itself is being driving by the need for better performance,” Maloney said. “Most of the chips being sold these days are for phones and more and more, your standard phone will carry every operating system we support.

Intel would begin rolling the features into its Centrino brand of chipsets starting this year, Maloney said.

Better Devices, Better Coverage

As part of Intel’s mobility roadmap, Maloney revealed the next-generation Centrino platform, code-named Napa. The first product to ship under Napa is Intel’s 65-nanometer dual-core Pentium M processor codenamed Yonah.

Available in 2006, Yonah will include an improved multimedia content creation program, an enhanced thermal monitoring feature, and a power coordination tool that automatically adjusts the performance of up to two processing cores.

In addition, Maloney previewed Intel-designed and manufactured cell phone platform, code-named Hermon, which should ship later this year. During his keynote earlier this week, Intel CEO Craig Barrett said Intel would build cell phone platforms that include one- and two-chip configurations with integrated graphics, high-end performance and low-power modules.

But even with better laptops and handsets, Maloney said bandwidth remains the biggest barrier to adoption. He then pointed toward Intel’s progress in establishing WiMAX as a global wireless standard.

A year ago, Intel reported 46 WiMAX members. The company said that number has jumped to 244, with most being well versed in 3G technologies.

Maloney said Intel has also seen the number of WiMAX carrier trials increase from two to 15 on its way to more than 75 before the end of 2005. The current demonstrations are using Intel’s Rosedale chip with WiMAX-embedded technologies. Maloney said the chip was dropped into first silicon a few months ago with Intel’s partners now testing the processor for a limited rollout later this year.

“This is great progress, but as the data shows, we’ve only achieved limited broadband coverage, which gives our industry a great opportunity to deploy applications and services much more affordably using broadband wireless technologies,” Maloney said.

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