Intel Predicts $30B Next-Gen Notebook Market

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At the chipmaker's spring financial analyst meeting in New York, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said the release of Intel's "Silverthorne" processors in 2008 will power the next round of mobile Internet devices, as well as Internet-based consumer electronics devices and ultra-low-cost PCs for emerging markets.

Unlike current handheld devices, the next-generation IA-based mobile Internet devices and consumer devices will run a mainstream operating system -- Windows or Linux -- and offer customers compatibility with PCs and a full-featured Internet experience; other proprietary ARM-based platforms can only offer a subset of that functionality and compatibility with PCs.

Otellini predicts each of those three markets will represent roughly $10 billion in silicon revenue for all vendors, based on projected sales of 900 million units. Intel's 180,000 global resellers are pivotal to that growth, he added.

"We're extending our architecture into new markets and mobile Internet devices with full Internet capabilities and voice. We see a new class of devices like Apple TV built around consumer electronic parameters to bring Internet PC content onto [smaller devices]," Otellini said. "The next inflection points for us is in the mobile Internet device, which is the evolution of the cell phone, but also the natural extension of the notebook."

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Otellini said Silverthorne processors combined with next-generation 3G and WiMAX wireless technologies will fuel an explosion in mobile Internet devices, much the way Intel's "Banias" mobile chip and WiFi drove the current explosion in notebook sales.

Intel's Silverthorne silicon will be one-seventh of the size and use one-sixth of the power of its current mobile chips, Otellini said. The Silverthorne kit, including processor and chipset, will use one-fourth of the real estate and power of current processors.

In the interim, Intel expects its fourth-generation Centrino processors and Centrino Pro platform to drive another notebook explosion in 2007 and 2008.

Otellini said manufacturers will introduce more than 200 Santa Rosa notebooks next week that embody new cases, moldings, form factors and finishes based on Intel's enhanced Merom chips.

"You'll see notebooks with different looks and feel as this market increasingly takes on consumer characteristics, new processors, new wireless and new graphics," he said.