Intel Exec: IDF Will Answer Developers' Questions

Centering on the theme of "Stretching Boundaries, Building Relationships," Intel will home right in on its plans for multicore processing--technology that will significantly boost performance and that is slated to roll out early next year. In pushing multicore architecture, the company likely is hoping to one-up rival Advanced Micro Devices, which last week said it had successfully demonstrated a dual-core, x-86-based chip.

Frank Spindler, vice president of Intel's corporate technology group and director of industry technology programs, said the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip maker will also announce at IDF new advances in its lineup of 64-bit Itanium processors and its plans for Hyper-Threading in additional server and workstation chips.

Spindler said Intel executives, including President and COO Paul Otellini, will talk about "performance enhancements and capability enhancements through a multiple-core direction," and that the company will provide "some indications as to how you'll see it."

IDF is expected to draw more than 5,000 attendees--mostly developers and engineers hungry for technical and strategic guidance from the chip giant--who would like to see any question marks over Intel's product road map erased.

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"You won't see question marks," Spindler said. "What you'll actually see is a reinforcement of a strategy, or general strategy, that we have articulated for our product families."

Otellini did not speak at the February IDF. CEO Craig Barrett delivered a keynote address but did not mention dual-core or multicore plans--an indication of how much urgency the $30 billion chip maker places on technology it now views as vital to competing with AMD.

"They seem to drive the world," said David Bolling, president of Nor-Tech, a Burnsville, Minn.-based system builder, about Intel. "If they are coming out with it and have the engineering behind it, I think it could take off."

Still, he said, despite the efforts at boosting performance, "I think we need another application to drive the performance. People aren't really going nuts" for juiced-up performance, except in unique situations where an application requires it.

To that end, Spindler said several dozen third-party announcements are expected during IDF--and several could be from software vendors. Spindler said details were not available.

Other key items Intel plans to put under the spotlight this week:

An update on the company's push to build out high-reach WiMAX networks across the country to provide greater connectivity access to the wireless network;

Rollout of new management technology tied to Intel's processor platforms;

Demonstrations of Intel's advances in the digital home and digital office, using enhanced audio, video and graphics capabilities of its chipsets and processors;

In-depth details on the company's efforts to turn around its communications business, with particular focus on interconnect strategies beyond WiMAX, including fiber, DSL and the wired broadband network;

A look at new form factors;

And, a discussion of Intel's view of the "next-generation Internet."

The company is also expected to present more futuristic goals, including its view of the "office of the future" and the boosting of data capabilities of handhelds.