Business desktops will integrate
better management and security"> Intels new platforms, which follow a recipe similar to that of its Centrino bundle for wireless notebooks, aim to make desktops more attractive to businesses by pairing its latest hardware and Stable Image Program, which ensures a platform will not be changed for a year, with management, security and even communications capabilities. The Skype partnership, for example, is designed to help make the VOIP service work better on Intel-based PCs. PC makers who use the platforms are left to put their own spin on the machines designs, including their sizes. Some will augment their future small desktops with Yonah, a dual-core version of Intels Pentium M notebook chip.Click here to read more about Pentium M desktops.Intels first Professional Business Platform for desktops came out in May. The bundle included Intel Pentium 4 600 series chips and Intels 945G chipsets and was available with its Active Management Technology or AMT. AMT, which monitors PCs hardware and can help recover broken PCs, is part of Intels Embedded IT effort, under which it seeks to include management technologies inside its silicon. Because companies are trying to lower desktop management costs, "AMTthat only helps us," Bhatia said. So far Lenovo is the only major brand name manufacturer in the U.S. to have adopted AMT, although Dell and others are likely taking time to evaluate it. Intel will update the Professional Business Platform with more capabilities for 2006. A new platform, dubbed Averill, will incorporate the companys dual-core Pentium D 900 series chips with a beefed-up chipset and a new gigabit Ethernet network interface card. The platform will also include a more advanced AMT and support Intels hardware-based Virtualization Technology. A subset of Averills features will be available on notebooks, in addition to desktops, Intel has said, marking the first time its Professional Business Platform will go mobile. "There are a lot of lessons they learned from Centrino that theyre trying to ply in other businesses. VIIV [Intels consumer brand] and Centrino mimic each other and now the platform thing. Its all the same," said Richard Shim, analyst at International Data Corp. "Its clear that performance can no longer be the sole story, so [Intel has to ask itself] What can you add on top of performance?" Aside from gaining from the dual-core chip, which can improve a PCs flexibility by allowing it to operate more smoothly while backup or antivirus software is running the background, PCs may see a security and manageability boost from virtualization as well. Virtualization can be used to partition a desktop, just like a server, to run multiple operating systems and their software sets. Manufacturers are likely to begin by shipping machines with special partitions, enabled by virtualization. Lenovo, for one, demonstrated using a partition for security and management. When the PC was attacked by a virus, the PC used software located in the partition to combat it. Next Page: Virtualization could reshape the corporate desktop.