Intel President and COO Paul Otellini Tuesday said the chip giant is developing an increasing amount of software that will accelerate everything from the digital home phenomenon to self-configuring networks.
"Increasingly you'll see us use software to add value," said Otellini, at the Forrester Executive Strategy Forum in Boston. "In Centrino we add value with the software layer, power management and for networking activity. ... You'll see us do similar kinds of software offerings for digital home stacks."
Otellini said the software may not necessarily be "user-visible," but it is software which "is integral to giving us differentiated value in a world of standards."
Intel, Santa Clara, Calif., is investing heavily in "cross-architecture software development," said Otellini. Under that initiative Intel has developed a set of tools that allows partners or customers to easily move legacy applications and "simply re-scale it and repurpose it very quickly over to handsets and PDAs," Otellini said.
Otellini predicted that the cross-architecture initiative will "unleash the power of 2.5 billion handset devices and 1.5 billion broadband PCs." Intel said those tools are shipping today in high volume.
Intel is also working on what Otellini called "radio-free Intel and software-defined radios."
"Our ambition over time is to think of taking a corner of every microprocessor and microcontroller we have built... and putting into it a software-defined radio," Otellini said.
Intel's vision is to enable billions of devices that can sense "every network out there and automatically configure and sense a network," he said.
Otellini said that technology will bring the industry into an age of ubiquitous sensor networks. "This means we can create very intelligent, very low-cost networks out there that self-configure, self-heal and self-manage themselves for a variety of tasks," he said.
In an interview after his speech, Otellini said Intel has been demonstrating radio-enabled chips for about a year. "It's not ready for prime time," he said.
Intel's president said TVs are integral to Intel's view of digital convergence. The television is merely one device in the home that will be wirelessly enabled.
The TV and stereos are likely to be display devices one way or another, he said. "I don't think you are going to do your photos editing on the television. You'll still do it on your PC," Otellini said. "But you'll sure as heck want to watch it in your family room or where you got your television."
Intel will work with television manufacturers to add more intelligent and networking capabilities to TVs over time. "They are just sort of smart peripherals around the house," he said.