Intel emphasised its commitment to the wireless technology industry with the announcement of broad initiatives at its Developer Forum event. Building on its Personal Client Architecture (PCA), which is already used in XScale-powered devices such as the HP iPaq, Intel will introduce new multimedia and communications enhancements to its platforms.
Its Banias mobile PC platform will integrate wireless networking standards such as 802.11b, 802.11g and Bluetooth into a single architecture. Intel will also incorporate 64-bit MMX extensions into future XScale processors, enabling developers of handheld computing applications to write rich, multimedia applications.
Executives used the Intel Developer Forum to describe a vision of pervasive computing, with seamless connectivity between PCs, consumer electronics appliances and handheld devices. “What people really want is the ability to have any device – be it a PC, a notebook, a PDA or a consumer electronics device such as a TV or a stereo – to interact seamlessly with any other device, anytime, whether they’re at home, in the office or on the go,” said Burns. “Industry collaboration, products and industry standards are what will make this vision a reality. We’re excited to be working with other industry leaders to make this happen.”
Intel knows it must work hard to earn itself a position in the wireless industry comparable to that which it enjoys in the desktop market. Its StrongARM and XScale processors have been well-received by handheld computing manufacturers, but the few million units it currently sells each year are a drop in the ocean compared to the opportunities in mass-market smartphones and other pervasive devices.
The company will be using its massive influence on the desktop to promote a vision in which its processors and communications chips sit at the heart of millions of personal networks, in the home and the mobile environment. Its strategy will be to entice developers with proprietary extensions (e.g. MMX) which offer compelling capabilities and tie them to the Intel architecture. As one would expect, Microsoft will be a key partner in helping them achieve this vision. Texas Instruments, however, will be a strong competitor in the smartphones market, with huge market share and a popular platform in its OMAP techology.
A company which stands to make significant gains regardless is ARM, the British intellectual property developer, whose microprocessor designs are used by almost all of the world’s leading silicon manufacturers – including Intel with StrongARM/XScale and TI with OMAP.
Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.