Intel Offers Glimpse at Its Mobility Computing Agenda

At IDF, Intel boasts that new notebooks using its Core 2 Duo chips are more powerful yet use much less power than older machines.

SAN FRANCISCO—Intel, which long ago built its considerable reputation on desktop, server and mainframe microprocessors, also has quite an agenda when it comes to mobile computing, and it isnt shy about telling everybody about it.

David "Dadi" Perlmutter, senior vice president and general manager of Intels Mobility Group, offered a large audience of Intel Developer Forum participants here Sept. 27 a look at some of the new mobile machines coming down the pike that will be using the companys new Core 2 Duo chips.

"The first personal computers actually were mobile computers," Perlmutter said, showing a slide of a wide-bodied, small-screened (perhaps 4 inches across), circa 1981 machine that looked much older than something that was born during the Reagan administration.

"Personalization is the biggest driver of notebooks," he said. "Kids have their own colors, the form factors have changed, and innovation in look and feel has improved. There are a lot more choices now."

/zimages/2/28571.gifTheres plenty of good news coming out of IDF, but click here for a closer look.

Perlmutter addressed overall innovation, form factors, battery improvements, the increasing use of NAND and NOR flash memory in mobile computers, and advances in connectivity and power consumption during his 45-minute talk.

Early laptops were just too slow to use in business, Perlmutter said. "It used to be: Well, Ill take notes on the laptop, but Ill go back to my desktop to get any work done with it," he said.

Not so anymore, he said.

The new generation of notebooks that Intel and OEMs such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Dell, Apple and Lenovo will be marketing in the near future are powerful enough to run silky-smooth high-definition video, three-dimensional graphics and heavyweight gaming applications, yet use much less power than older, slower machines.

Perlmutter and a couple of his colleagues demonstrated video and video games on the prototype notebooks, and the results looked impressive.

"Dual-core laptops will make up about 90 percent of all the notebooks we ship in 2006," he said. "And our Centrino Duo notebooks will do all their work using 25 to 50 percent less power, because of the more efficient microprocessors that shave off about 400 milliwatts of power."

/zimages/2/28571.gifIntel is set to cut power by 10 times in its processors and use them in ultramobile PCs. Click here to read more.

At the same time, the world is embracing mobile broadband to bring the benefits of the Internet to these notebooks anytime, anywhere, Perlmutter said.

"Were working on some interesting applications of WiMax [wireless broadband connectivity]," he said. "Were working with CalTrain here in California to put WiMax in moving trains. By 2008 we plan on delivering Wi-Fi modules to integrate right into PCs."

Intel really wants to reinvent the personal computer, Perlmutter said.

"Next-generation mobility will mean even smaller, lighter, faster notebooks," he said. "We will extend mobility one step further in order to use all the plug-ins available on the Internet today, so we will be able to run on these smaller devices.

"We want to cut the power requirement by half and the size by three-fourths—those are the goals. We will officially decimate the power issue. And well integrate more functions in smaller form factors," Perlmutter said.

Notebooks are all about the platform—not just the processors, he said.

"GPS and TV will be coming [to these new, smaller machines], because people want them. They also want new form factors," Perlmutter said, demonstrating a pull-up/twistable notebook screen that can work wonders for people who like to work while flying.

"See this?" he said. "Do any of you fly coach? Well, when the guy in front of you decides to move his seat back, you can still work because this notebook screen is adjustable."

Perlmutter showed an example of a small-form, ruggedly encased notebook designed expressly for elementary school children.

The little machine weighs only 2.5 pounds and can slip easily into a childs backpack, yet it is a full-featured, connected Windows XP machine that can do everything most other machines can do. And if you drop it from 3 feet onto a hard surface, it wont break.

"We really designed it for one-on-one learning in the classroom," Perlmutter said. "But kids also will be able to play games on it."

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...