Intel Looking Toward Mobile, Ultra Portable Markets

Intel is moving ahead with plans to offer processors and chip sets that target the mobile market.

SAN FRANCISCO—As Intel moves toward delivering processors built on the new 45-nanometer scale, the chip giant is eyeing the mobile market and the emerging ultra portable space as two sectors poised for significant growth in the next two years.

At the 2007 Intel Developer Forum, most of the second days keynotes focused on the Santa Clara, Calif., companys efforts to continue to deliver mobile platforms for laptops, while delving deeper into the ultra portable space.

During his opening keynote, CEO Paul Otellini talked about the importance of mobility and the emerging ultra portable market. On Sept. 19, David Perlmutter, senior vice president and general manager of the companys Mobility Group, detailed Intels plans for the market.

By 2009, Perlmutter said Intel is predicting that notebooks will outstrip desktop revenue, making the laptop market even more valuable than it today. In order to take advantage of that market, he said Intel would concentrate on increasing performance, increasing mobility, more sophisticated design and battery life.

One of the most important goals Intel is working toward is developing a WiMax network with its two carrier partners, Sprint Nextel and Clearwire, which should begin operating in 2008.

In terms of processor performance, Perlmutter said the new 45-nanometer family of Penryn chips will offer a dramatic improvement compared to the current generation of Intel mobile processors. Part of this performance increase, he said, will address issues ranging from users ability to stream videos to delivering rich media content.

/zimages/6/28571.gifGordon Moore reflected on his life and times at the 2007 IDF. Click here to read more.

"So performance does matter and we do care about performance," Perlmutter said. "We are improving performance year after year, tick after tock and tock after tick. Our microprocessors performance has by [a factor of two] compared to the chips that we first introduced four years ago."

In addition to building a WiMax network and increasing raw performance, Intel will introduce its next generation "Montevina" mobile platform in 2008, which will include processors from its 45-nanometer Penryn family, DDR3 (double data rate 3) memory and a new technology called "Eco Peak."

Eco Peak incorporates both Wi-Fi and WiMax support into the platform.

The new mobile Montevina platform also looks to save on power by incorporating low-watt, 45-nanonmeter processors—some as low as 25-watts—as well as components that are 40 percent smaller than the companys current offerings. Intel is also looking to increase battery life in the new platform by 40 percent.

Some of the PC vendors that have been already approached Intel about developing laptops with the Montevina platform, including Lenovo, Panasonic, Toshiba and Acer. Before this platform hit the market, Intel plans to refresh its its current Centrino Pro mobile platform with Penryn processors.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about Intels enterprise strategy for 2008.

On the ultra portable side, Intel plans to introduce a new platform in 2008 for MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices) called "Menlow," which will include a specific 45-nanometer processor called Silverthorne and a new chip set dubbed Poulsbo. This new processor will draw 10 times less power than current models and the entire platform can fit onto a 74-milimeter by 143-milimeter motherboard.

Intel is also looking to build a choice of Wi-Fi, WiMax and 3G cellular technology onto the platform, said Anand Chandrasekher, general manager of Intels Ultra Mobile Group. After Menlow, which should appear in the first half of 2008, Intel will roll out the "Moorestown" platform, which will include SOC (System on a Chip) technology that will integrate CPU, graphics, video and a memory controller on a single 45-nanometer chip.

Intel is working with several OEMs to develop MIDs and other ultra portable devices, including Fujitsu, Hitachi, Lenovo, Samsung and Toshiba, along with several other vendors.

In addition, Intel is working with software vendors to help develop methods and technology to help better deliver applications and the Internet to these MIDs and ultra portable machines.

/zimages/6/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.