The announcement from Google this week that it will offer Android, a Linux-based mobile phone platform, certainly caused a stir in the industry. Intel's decision to join Google's Open Handset Alliance (along with 33 other companies) underlines the support Intel provides to open source platforms -- what Pankaj Kedia, director of Intel's global ecosystem programs, says is essential to giving consumers "the internet in your pocket."
A dedication to bringing a rich, multimedia mobile Internet led Intel to partnerships with the OHA and Google, among others, Kedia says. "What is going to happen over the next few years is the Internet experience on the phone platform will become increasingly rich, increasingly PC-like," he says. "And that's good because all the innovation you see on the Internet will be in your hand, and you can access it anywhere you want."
He calls Intel's decision to join the OHA "obvious" and says announcements like Google's certainly benefit Intel, but says Intel is interested in any open source platform out there. "Some customers will adopt Google's OS to deliver the best experience, other customers choose something else," he says. The same thing goes for Internet connectivity.
Although the world's leading evangelist of WiMAX, Intel takes the same approach to bringing the Internet to the end-user. "You cannot get the Internet if you are not connected, and you can be connected in different ways," Kedia says. "3G, WiMAX, Wi-Fi -- we support all of the above. "We are advocating WiMAX because it was designed for data from the get-go."
Kedia, unsurprisingly, is an avid believer in Intel's competitive superiority. "We build the best silicon for these devices," he says. Intel's position in the marketplace, however, gives the company the freedom to encourage all open source initiatives. "Intel technology shines anytime you talk about an open platform," he says. "Our role is to develop the best silicon, and then work with industry leaders to develop the best OS."
In Kedia's view -- one that's shared by a great many people -- open is good. And open is the future. "Open platforms are good, open standards are good, and open Internet is good," he says. "Closed is yesterday. We're motivated to work in open environments."
Companies like Google, which Kedia says have "changed the Internet," are important to keeping that future open. "You will see a range of Tier-1 customers bringing out platforms based on Intel silicon over the next few years," he says. "The more choices they have from a software perspective, the more robust the ecosystem."
Intel's platform for mobile devices, Menlow, which features the 45nm dual-core "Silverthorn" processor and "Poulsbo" chipset, is scheduled to debut in the first half of next year. Kedia admits the vision of "the Internet in your pocket" is only in the early stages, but is working hard to accelerate adoption through industry support and investment. "This thing is just getting rolled out," he says. "We want Google, OHA and Android to be successful, and we will help them with that. If Android does not meet Google's expectations, our customers will have other choices."