Intel adds to its mobile product arsenal

Intel announced two sets of new chip technologies Wednesday, hoping to keep up with the ever-present push to pack more processing power into less space.

The chip giant, based in Santa Clara, California, will release new flash memory products for cell phones later this year that could give users extra horsepower for running more advanced software on their phones. In addition, Intel has boosted the speeds on its mobile Pentium III processors, which fit into laptops and ultra-thin servers known as blades, the company said in a statement.

The 1.8 Volt Wireless Flash Memory product (W18) uses a more advanced 0.13 micron manufacturing process that allows the device to churn through data up to four times faster than its predecessors, according to the statement. This extra speed should benefit consumers, since flash memory plays a pivotal role in storing data on small computing devices.

Telecommunications companies around the world are looking to roll out new types of applications to cell phone subscribers such as streaming video and complex games. The companies hope higher speed wireless networks will provide enough bandwidth to support these types of services and are looking to companies like Intel to deliver hardware that makes a cell phone powerful enough to run these applications with little interruption.

Intel has tried to answer this call from cell phone makers by making flash memory that can handle lots of data, but that also uses less power than previous products.

Intel plans large-scale production of 64M-bit memory in August and similar production of 32M-bit memory in October. The memory is priced in 10,000 unit quantities at US$14.91 and $8.97, respectively. A 128M-bit memory product should arrive in 2003, the company said.

As for the new mobile processors, Intel announced that it has started selling its Pentium III-M processor at 933MHz. In addition, users can purchase its Ultra Low Voltage Pentium III-M chips running at 800MHz. A Mobile Celeron chip at 1GHz and Low Voltage Mobile Celeron at 733MHz are also available.

Hardware makers such as Dell Computer Corp. and Toshiba Corp are expected to release laptops with the new chips over the next month, an Intel spokeswoman said.

The Ultra Low Voltage Mobile Pentium III at 800MHz will also be used by blade server vendors. RLX Technologies Inc., one of the earliest companies to make the compact blade servers, is already using the low voltage 800MHz chip.

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Ashlee Vance

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