Intels Barrett Talks Mobility at CES

The Intel CEO touted the upcoming "Sonoma" wireless platform and highlighted some mobile computing applications in his CES keynote address.

LAS VEGAS—Intel Corp. CEO Craig Barrett looked forward to the companys launch of its next-generation mobile "Sonoma" platform by touting some of the applications of a mobile lifestyle.

Barrett spoke Thursday in the opening keynote here at the International Consumer Electronics Show, which has replaced the Comdex exposition as the largest showcase for consumer electronics and computers in the United States.

Barrett, who will yield his title of chief executive of Intel to current president Paul Otellini in May, said that for the first time sales of notebook PCs outsold sales of televisions during the 2004 holiday sales season. Thats good news for Intel, which expects the first shipments of its next-generation Centrino platform, dubbed Sonoma, in February.

Barrett also disclosed that the companys dual-core "Smithfield" processor would not be a mainstream product until next year. Sources have indicated that the first Smithfield chips are due around the third quarter of 2005, most likely for high-end PCs. Barrett, who did not mention the processor by name, said that Intel "would see [dual-core] delivered in 05, with volume in 06".

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Save for those two disclosures, Barretts keynote was full of the usual glitz and glamour thats come to be expected at CES. Barrett was introduced by a troupe of acrobats symbolizing cultures from around the globe, and Aerosmith frontman Stephen Tyler and actor Robert Redford both made appearances to talk about the way technology has changed their lives.

eBay chief executive Meg Whitman also walked on stage to tease audience members about a press conference to be held later Thursday, where eBay will facilitate the disposal of obsolete computers and other e-waste.

According to Barrett, mobile computing has become mainstream enough to begin affecting society, and vice versa. Intel research has shown that women are playing more of a role in technology buying decisions, Barrett said, favoring lighter notebooks with wireless capabilities, while men generally prefer more robust desktop machines.

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