Intel launches Internet venture

Intel today launched its WebOutfitter service - the chipmaker's first dip into the Internet service arena, a venture based around its latest Pentium processor release - the Pentium III.

According to officials at its launch, the Intel WebOutfitter service will aim to enrich PIII users' online experience through plug-ins and Web site content that has been optimised for the PIII chip architecture.

Intel Australia today announced three Australian Web sites which have been optimised for the PIII processor, including CitySearch Australia (http://www.citysearch.com.au) and finance site EquityCafe (http://www.equitycafe.com.au). CitySearch developed a 3D tour of Sydney utilising IPIX images, whilst EquityCafe created a new tier of its site for PIII users only, offering enhanced searching and information.

Intel provided free technical assistance to the Web developers, and in EquityCafe's case, is underwriting the membership of PIII users utilising the EquityCafe service, during its first three months.

Though conscious of bandwidth constraints, PIII-optimised Web pages "are getting heavier", said Intel Asia-Pacific's Internet marketing manager, Angelo LoCerno. PIII users of the Intel WebOutfitter service will be required to have a 56K modem and Windows 98.

The service, which is free but available exclusively to PIII owners, will centre around the Intel WebOutfitter Web site (http://www.intelweboutfitter.com) - the key in pulling together the venture's three facets dubbed "Equip Your PC", "Tech Treks" and "Site Seeing".

"Equip Your PC" will provide specially tuned plug-ins from currently 10 vendors, including Macromedia's Shockwave 7 and Flash Player, Interactive Pictures IPIX Viewer and RealPlayer G2 from RealNetworks. The plug-ins will also be available on a CD via mail. Intel has negotiated a single licence for the plug-ins, which can be installed in a single one-step process, a company official said.

"Intel WebOutfitter is a one-stop-shop for downloading plug-ins," said LoCerno. According to LoCerno, the featured plug-ins have been tested by Intel on every motherboard and chipset combination, and for interdependencies, to remove all uncertainties and simplify the process for users.

"Tech Treks" -- online editorial, product trials and demos on particular technology topics, will be updated every 60 days, said Intel, whilst "Site Seeing" will link to various Australian Web sites.

Free technical support via phone, e-mail and the Web will also be provided to members, said Intel.

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