For years, one of the popular themes of the Consumer Electronics Show has been “the wired home.” For his keynote speech this year, Intel CEO Paul Otellini showed off something different: the wireless home.
Much of what he discussed centered around wireless technology and getting rid of the spaghetti tangle of cables that have come to clutter our homes. But there were other aspects to Otellini’s speech, ranging from 3D to handheld devices.
That, of course, was the point. “Computing is no longer confined to your computer – it’s everywhere,” Otellini said during his speech. “Advances in connectivity, intuitive user interfaces, immersive content and computer chip performance have allowed computing to move into new areas.”
One of those areas is 3D video. There will be 50 3D titles this year, up from 20 last year. But Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), which partnered with DreamWorks Animation to help produce its animated films like the “Shrek” series, wants to bring that home.
Otellini demoed a home system, running a new Core i7 processor, that could take home movies and turn them into 3D video. You still need the 3D glasses to see the final result, but just the idea of generating 3D video on a home computer was unthinkable even a year ago.
“Fifteen years ago, we struggled to get video running on the first Pentium. Now the computer is the center of viewing and in creating high definition and 3D graphics in the home. We see 3D moving from studios to the home and we’re providing the compute horsepower to make that happen,” said Otellini.
Intel Wireless Display
Intel at CES formally introduced a batch of new Core i3/i5/i7 processors, which were announced last month, and Otellini showed off a new laptop with the processor and a new software product, Intel Wireless Display.
Using the built-in Wi-Fi of the laptop and a $100 adapter connected to an HDTV it’s possible to stream high definition video to a television. On Jan. 17, laptops by Dell, Sony and Toshiba and a TV adapter by Netgear featuring this Wireless Display technology will go on sale at Best Buy.
Sticking with the modern home, he showed off a new cable box with a much more advanced and visual interface than currently used by cable today. This came through a set-top box with an Atom processor.
But there are still some needs for wires. He mentioned SuperSpeed USB, or USB 3.0, which is 10 times faster than USB 2.0. The spec is complete but hardware has been slower to come to market.
He also discussed Light Peak, the fiber optic cable first demonstrated at the Intel Developer Forum last September. Otellini said that it would provide 10 gigabits per second of transfer speed, enough to download an entire Blu-ray movie in 30 seconds.
“With this, we can replace all the cables in your system. VGA, HDMI, DVI. Sony and Nokia have already announced support, others working on it. It will provide the I/O performance and connectivity for the next generation of PCs,” he said, adding that PCs will have Light Peak “a year from now.”
Next, he covered the netbook and handheld device market that the Intel Atom processor has spawned. Otellini announced the beta launch of AppUp Center, the app store for Atom devices running Windows and Linux it announced last month.
The first apps, which span education, entertainment, games, health and other categories, are now available for free download. Acer, ASUS, Dell and Samsung are the first OEMs to announce support for apps stores based on the Intel AppUp Center.
His final demo was of a retail store display. As he and a female Intel executive approached the display, it recognized her height and gender and put icons at eye level to her pointing out women’s clothing. The entire experience was touch-based, similar to Microsoft Surface and somewhat reminiscent of the futuristic movie Minority Report.