February 23, 2004

Highlights from Intel Developer Forum

Author: Chris Preimesberger

SAN FRANCISCO -- Highlights from the lightly attended Intel Developer Forum at the Moscone Center weren't numerous. Most of the news was about pricing changes, SIGs, and standards groups. Nonetheless, here's a listing for the record on the key items that eventually came to the fore.

Intel revealed that it will extend its x86 instruction set from 32 bits to 64 bits, finally giving tacit approval to the strategy rival Advanced Micro Devices announced last year. For months, Intel downplayed the need for that technology, but analysts say that its decision to release a product at this time is a significant validation for AMD's approach. AMD's Opteron processor, introduced last year, was the first chip to offer users the possibility of running their 32-bit x86 applications on a server that could also run 64-bit applications as those users migrated to the technology.

Intel -- and, in a separate announcement, Advanced Micro Devices -- announced they are lowering prices on their mobile processors. Additionally, AMD slashed the costs of its desktop Athlon XP CPUs to better compete with Intel's Celeron chips. Intel cut down prices -- mostly on its DTR SKUs -- by up to 32%. AMD reduced pricing of its microprocessors for mobile applications by 6% to 34% across all its product lines, including CPUs for desktop replacement notebooks, chips for mainstream laptops as well as processors for thin and light mobile computers.

Intel outlined plans to drive the development of a complete,
standards-based, common platform for ultra-wideband (UWB) wireless
technology. UWB is a wireless radio technology for transmitting data between
consumer electronics, PC peripherals, and mobile devices within short
range at very high speeds, while consuming little power. It is ideally
suited for wireless transfer of high-quality multimedia content, such
as wirelessly streaming family videos from the digital video recorder
to a high-definition television in the living room or wirelessly
connecting a mobile PC to a projector in a conference room to deliver
a presentation.

Some big names in enterprise computing are trying to make it easy for developers to integrate wireless devices into Web services development projects. During the forum, Intel, Microsoft, BEA Systems, and Cannon Inc. proposed WS-Discovery, a new Web service spec that will describe ways for devices to find and connect to conventional, wired Web services. The spec would work with both .NET and Java-based wireless devices. For more information, see this story at Integration Developer News.

Dolby Laboratories and Intel said they are making
cooperative efforts to extend the consumer electronics sound and
entertainment experience to the PC, based on Intel High Definition
Audio. As part of the Dolby PC Entertainment Experience Initiative, Dolby is launching a new Integrated Audio Codec Licensing program and a PC Logo Program
featuring Dolby Surround Sound technologies. The Dolby Integrated Audio Codec Licensing program is designed to enable PC audio codec companies to develop solutions that work with Intel HD Audio, Intel's next-generation audio architecture. Intel HD Audio enables evolving usage models for today's PC audio architecture.

Intel introduced the world's first NOR (No OR) flash memory device on 90-nanometer manufacturing technology. In a keynote address, Intel Executive Vice President Sean Maloney said that Intel Wireless Flash Memory manufactured on 90 nm (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter) process technology has an approximately 50 percent smaller die size compared to the previous generation, which will lower costs and double Intel manufacturing capability.

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