Intel lays out vision of mobile lifestyle

Users increasingly want their home, office, mobile and consumer-electronic devices to exchange multimedia content, according to Intel Corp. executives who spoke Tuesday morning at the Intel Developer Forum here. This demand is in turn driving the design of the next generation of computers, especially mobile machines such as notebook PCs and wireless handheld devices, they said.

The home, office, and mobile worlds are converging to allow users to transmit multimedia content between desktop PCs, notebook PCs, and wireless handheld devices, said Louis Burns, vice president and general manager of Intel's desktop platforms group. Specifically, Intel has noticed an interest from consumers for shipping pictures, audio files, and video content between their PCs and their television sets, he said.

"Consumers want a better experience in their homes, and to be able to seamlessly interact between computing products and consumer electronics devices," he said.

Burns demonstrated several hardware products from Sony Electronics Inc. and other vendors that he said can let users move home videos and digital photo albums among handhelds, notebooks, and consumer electronics devices through 802.11b wireless technology and Ethernet connectivity.

Central to the multimedia exchange Intel showed were digital media adapters, which Intel is making available under its new wireless initiative announced Monday at IDF. The company also showed how computer-aided design (CAD) files could be accessed from a corporate network by notebooks and handhelds with integrated wireless technology.

The Banias mobile processor, to be released next year, was discussed in detail by Anand Chandrasekher, Intel's vice president and general manager of the mobile platforms group. Intel designed Banias not only to improve mobile devices' performance but also their power management, in order to extend battery life, he said.

The chip uses an advancement in Intel's SpeedStep technology, which allocates power to different chip functions as needed. It also features a technology called Advanced Branch prediction, which analyzes past patterns of instructions passing through the chip, and tries to anticipate what instructions might be coming the next time a certain application is started.

The power management features were demonstrated by comparing the power usage of the chip while it processed MPEG4 video encoding. The chip used 7 watts of power while crunching the code, dropping down to a standby level of less than 1 watt, according to the presentation materials.

Finally, Intel will add the MMX technology to its PXA250 and PXA210 wireless processors, allowing developers to create multimedia applications specifically for handheld devices, said Ron Smith, senior vice president and general manager of the wireless communications and computing group. The MMX technology allows devices to execute media applications faster, according to Intel.

The company also released Tuesday what it said was the first Gigabit Ethernet controller designed specifically for high performance and low power in mobile PCs, according to a press release.

The Intel Developer Forum continues through Thursday.

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Tom Krazit

Computerworld
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