During its fall analyst meeting in New York, Intel CEO Craig Barrett reported that the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company had seen a "glimmering of IT resurgence," and that Intel expected a significant amount of revenue to come from the China and Eastern European markets. From a product standpoint, Intel executives noted that the firm would deliver a 4GHz desktop processor next year, transform the PC into a software-based access point and transition to multicore processors in 2005.
Fresh off the companys best third quarter in a quarter of a century, Intels Barrett warned that future growth would likely be driven by emerging markets such as China and Eastern Europe. He said these regions have millions of highly-trained students entering the global workforce who are willing to work for less pay than their Western counterparts. To compete against these workers, U.S. firms will have to take out cost through technology, Barrett said.
"The key here is developing an IT infrastructure to keep employees competitive," Barrett said. "If you delve a little deeper into this area you see the glimmering of IT resurgence," prompted by sales of high-end client PCs to IT departments, he said. However, Barrett reiterated, as other Intel executives have done, that the company does not see a massive upgrade cycle in the near future.
All told, Intel expects to keep up with analyst projections of approximately 19 or 20 percent growth in the semiconductor market for 2004, Barrett added.
In the meeting, Intel president Paul Otellini was called onto explain Intels roadmap throughout the next year and into 2005. While some of the disclosures echoed past presentations, two points, however, stood out: Intels move to processors with several cores and the expansion of wireless capabilities with its chipsets. Otellini said Thursday that desktop processors will include this feature beginning in 2005. Previously, the company had said only that it had plans to ship processors with more than one core on a die. The multicore processor would be used on desktop processors and in its "Tanglewood" processor for servers.
Second, Otellini disclosed the "Grantsdale" desktop chipset, due in 2004, will contain a capability to turn the PC into a wireless access point through the use of software. A broadband modem routed into the PC will in turn be able to distribute content throughout the home or office through the Grantsdale PC, as part of the companys "digital home" strategy. In addition, Intel has worked with Hollywood to develop secure means of distributing protected content over wired and wireless IP networks.
In notebooks, sales of the companys "Centrino platform" represents the first time Intel has attempted to brand a processor and its related components. Otellini said similar strategies would be used to tie technologies to "LaGrande," which will create a secure "vault" to store data; and "Vanderpool," a technology to allow virtual OS processes to run on the same system.
"Our strategy in this area has been to innovate and then we integrate," Otellini said. "Weve been doing that for some time now, but now were doing that outside the processor."
In 2004, Intel expects a "quick toggle" to code-names Dothan and Prescott, Intels first 90-nanometer processors for the mobile and desktop markets, Otellini said. Although Intel expects "revenue shipments" of the chips this quarter, analysts said both chips were quietly delayed until early next year. Both chips will be supported by new chipsets, Sonoma and Grantsdale, which combine support for new DDR-II memory, Serial ATA, and code-name Azalia standard for 24-bit 7.1 surround sound.
The Sonoma chipset will also include a connector for a light meter OEMs can install on the motherboard. In daylight, for example, the chipset will dim the LCD backlight to save power, a feature that Nvidia Corp.s latest mobile chip, the GeForce FX Go 5700, can do via user control.
In wireless, Intel will sample a chip that combines Bluetooth and 802.11 wireless in 2004, and ship WiMAX silicon, which will provide wireless "last mile" access to the home, Otellini said.
Intel officials expects smooth sailing on the server processor front as well. The total 2003 shipments for the Itanium processor will top 100,000, Otellini predicted, showing that the architecture is finally selling in volume. In 2004, Intel will also ship a version of its 32-bit Prescott chip as part of the Xeon family, and add a version of its 64-bit Madison processor with 9MB of cache.
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