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IDF keynote highlights two trends in mobile segment

Posted: 29 Oct 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:intel? mobile platforms? wireless broadband? cpu? wi-max?

The backbone of converging technologies can be summed up in just one word innovation. And the proliferation of these technological innovations is made possible due to the inflection of two emerging trends in the coming years: pervasive wireless broadband and pervasive parallelism. In a nutshell, this was the keynote message delivered by Anand Chandrasekher, VP and co-general manager of the mobile platforms group at Intel Corp., in the recently concluded Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Taiwan.

Over the last three years, the industry saw how the notebook market doubled its growth rate and Intel believes that the opportunity for this particular market segment to do the same feat in the next three years is very much possible. "Growth, we always say, is driven by innovation," said Chandrasekher. "We've been driving innovation for the last three years and we believe we have tremendous opportunity to drive innovation for the next couple of years."

Pervasive technologies

Moore's Law is alive and well in both the communicating and computing standpoints. As chipmakers continue to drive Moore's Law in both segments, two inflection points are seen to set a technology trend in the near future. One is pervasive wireless broadband that fundamentally means having the capability to change the way people view computing devices and integrated computing devices.

The new Wi-Max 802.16 chips from Intel, for example, is an emerging wireless standard that promises to provide high-speed broadband connectivity in both fixed and mobile wireless networks. Wi-Max, Chandrasekher said, has the potential to be exactly the same as Wi-Fi except for the frequency range it covers. Wi-Max chips are currently being deployed in the market as I speak, he said, and Intel plans to incorporate Wi-Max into the Centrino family as an option beginning 2006 and as BTO solutions in 2007 and beyond.

Another trend to watch out is pervasive parallelism which technically talks about the change in the way computing is delivered not just from the servers and workstations but across all clients. The philosophy basically delves on the reality of the evolution of computing and how clients deal the huge changes in terms of what they are able to do with their computing power and communications capability.

In the pipeline

Over the next decade, Chandreskher believes that the technology sector will continue to experience an evolution as well as revolution in architectural innovations, as the computing, communications and content technologies continue to converge. On the backbone of innovation are two new platforms that are now in the stage of development and deployment.

The Sonoma platform is due for release on Q1 of 2005 with over 120 designs developed and approximately 70 percent of these designs are focused on speeding up time-to-market. The Sonoma platforms will be deployed in various next-generation mobile entertainment centers for the digital home as well as in high-productivity solutions for the digital office.

A next-generation Centrino platform, codenamed Napa, will be the next IC after the Sonoma. Where Sonoma is viewed largely as an 'evolutionary' platform from the original Centrino, which was launched in 2003, Napa is viewed as 'revolutionary', said Chandrasekher. "There's a lot of capability we're bringing in with Napa in the CPU, chipset and the wireless and we think it ushers in the next-generation mobility in a big way. Napa is a dual core processor and was designed using 65nm process.

Chandrasekher adds that the next imperative for innovation, from the notebook standpoint, that the industry is collectively working on is extended battery life. Two years ago the Extended Battery Life Work Group (EBL-WG) was formed and has pledged to create standards in the optimization of battery life. At the IDF, the EBLG-WG announced that they were able to establish to drop the display panel power consumption significantly from 4.5W to less than 3W--power savings that is equivalent to 60 minutes of extra battery life notebooks. The EBLG-WG is targeting an annual rate of 10 million units at 3W of less by early next year, about 20 percent of estimated notebook shipments for 2005, according to studies.

Technologies such as multicore silicon, Wi-Fi, Wi-Max and other proliferating software solutions are creating new business models, usages and opportunities. These architectural innovations and the standards that go along with converging solutions around consumer electronics, communication and computing will bring about a great potential to impact millions of lives around the world today and in the next decade.

- Rey Buan Jr.

Electronic Engineering Times- Asia

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