Intel Powering Down

Digitized health care, crystal-clear and cheap VoIP, and PCs that can run three operating systems at once are all in the offing, said Intel CEO Paul Otellini and other key executives of the chip giant, who met with partners and other technologists at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

Otellini said Intel should even be able to reduce notebook power consumption down to 5 watts in the near term and shrink some power-usage scenarios down to one half of one watt in coming years. Key to this strategy, he said, has been Intel&s work to merge the best aspects of its high-performance NetBurst architecture with the highly efficient Banias technology that sits at the core of the Centrino mobile platform.

“The performance of the Centrino CPUs have always been impressive when comparing gigahertz and power usage to standard desktop CPUs. It actually makes us wonder why this technology wasn&t used in desktop CPUs a long time ago,” said James Huang, a product manager for AMAX Information Technologies, a Fremont, Calif.-based system builder.

Todd Swank, director of marketing for Nor-Tech, a Burnsville, Minn.-based system builder, said he&s already encountered customers seeking to build systems with unusual form factors and power requirements, including automobile-based PCs for navigation or entertainment.

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“There&s a wide variety of applications where end users need PC-type solutions in environments that aren&t conducive to accommodate full-sized, full-powered PCs,” Swank said. “Once Intel enters this market and creates more awareness as well as new standards, a variety of opportunities will arise for system builders.”

During his keynote last week, Otellini laid out a road map that calls for Intel to launch its Yonah 65-nanometer dual-core mobile processor early next year. Its Presler dual-core desktop chip and Dempsey dual-core server processor are also due in the first half of 2006.

Intel plans to ship its Merom lower-voltage mobile processor, the Conroe lower-voltage desktop chip and the Woodcrest lower-voltage server processor in the second half of next year, Otellini said.

Intel also used its twice-annual IDF to unveil its new, branded digital home platform, Viiv, which will be available early next year; to announce the formation of alliances with companies including Avaya, Cisco Systems and Skype to make improvements to VoIP technology; and to discuss its Digital Health Platforms Group, which has begun building prototype notebook- and tablet-based systems for the health-care market.