The Intel Developer Forum has lifted the lid on various technologies brewing in its labs, focusing on power consumption, Third World needs and wireless. Global technology growth has seen a resurgence and is being driven by innovation, with the PC being central to this, Intel president and CEO said at the recently Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco.

Intel, he revealed, is developing "performance-per-watt" technology and micro-architecture, based on the demands of the "usage-oriented" computing era.

The group will release three new products in 2006 - the Merom, Conroe and Woodcrest multi-core processors for notebook, desktop and server platforms combining features of Intel`s Netburst and Mobile micro-architecture.

Otellini said Intel would launch power-efficient laptops, desktops and servers, running off 5W, 65W and 30W respectively. Meanwhile, a new ultra-low voltage device, the Handtop PC, will be launched in the first half of 2006.

Bad fit

Delegates at the IDF also heard that whereas developing regions need technology, First World ICT principles are a "bad fit".

Eric A Brewer, of Intel Research Berkley (based at Berkley University), argued ICT in developing countries should be employed as a driver for primary services, such as health and education, as well as improving the role of government, and not as a tool for Web access per se.

In addition, Moore`s Law dictates that low-cost computing, micro-credit and franchising make this the right time for developing regions to embrace ICT, Brewer pointed out. He argued that the primary cost of introducing ICT is not necessarily hardware related, but often has to do with environmental and infrastructure issues.

Wireless alliance

Intel and Systems have formed a partnership to improve wireless and solutions for businesses, the companies announced at the IDF.

The alliance aims to deliver new capabilities that enhance the reliability of wireless LANs and allow enterprises to utilise their hardware and networks as a combined defence against security threats.

The companies have jointly produced a new set of features, the Business Class Wireless Suite. This was designed using Cisco`s Unified Wireless Architecture and Intel Centrino mobile technology.

The Business Class Wireless Suite will be available in the first quarter of 2006.

Unveiling the Viiv brand

Intel unveiled its Viiv brand at the IDF, which has been created for the digital home and aimed at the consumer electronics market. Intel Digital Home Group VP and GM Don MacDonald said the Viiv PC was designed to enhance digital entertainment and would be available in Q1 2006.

Consumers can look forward to various entertainment options, including electronic devices, online services and software, and PCs based on this platform will include a number of Intel technologies, such as dual-core processors, chipsets, platform software and wired networking capabilities.

Viiv technology-based systems are capable of handling multiple computer-intensive tasks simultaneously, MacDonald said. Intel dual-core processors allow several people to use one PC at the same time from different rooms in the house.

Mobile growth

Intel mobile platforms group VP Mooly Eden told delegates at the forum that Intel is on an aggressive drive to tap the surging global mobile market, which has experienced double-digit growth in the business and consumer sectors in recent years.

The company will launch its Intel Centrino mobile technology platform, Napa, early next year, which will replace the current Sonoma platform.

The Napa platform will include Yonah, Intel`s first dual-core mobile- optimised processor, the Mobile Intel 945 Express chipset and the PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection.

Intel will introduce 220 new wireless, chipset and processor designs based on the Napa platform, which is set to advance mobile performance, battery life and wireless connectivity.

Wireless USB push

Intel will accelerate deployment of its certified wireless USB device into homes and offices, the company announced at the IDF.

The device will enable wireless comms to high-speed interconnects for multimedia consumer electronics and mobile devices, said Jeff Ravencraft, Intel technology strategist and USB Implementers` Forum president and chairman.

He explained that the company is developing a wireless host controller interface (WHCI) specification with the support of several industry players.

The WHCI specification will provide a standardised method for hardware-software communication, which will accelerate time-to-market for certified wireless USB products, allowing the industry to deliver interoperable products in 2006.

User-aware computing

Research into user-aware platforms - that will be capable of self-maintenance, adapting to environments and responding to users` needs - is progressing, senior fellow and Intel corporate technology group director Justin Rattner told IDF delegates.

Intel envisions putting tens to even hundreds of energy-efficient computing cores inside a single processor, he revealed.

Each chip will be capable of dynamically assigning clusters or individual processing cores together with the necessary memory and bandwidth to specific tasks, such as "seeing", "listening", network security, gaming and "understanding" commands.

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