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Intel Reaches For Ever Smaller Processors

Intel hopes it can expand beyond its core PC business, into smartphones and other mobile gadgets, by betting on next-generation 32-nanometer processors.

Intel is betting on its next-generation 32-nanometer processors to take the company beyond its core PC business, as people look to carry the Internet with them on smartphones and other mobile gadgets.

Intel executives on Wednesday discussed the company's future markets at Intel's Mid-Summer Technology Summit in San Francisco. In describing Intel's strategy, executives said processors and system-on-chip products built with Intel's 32-nm manufacturing process will mark a milestone for the company.

Where current 45-nm products are mostly used in PCs, servers and a relatively new category of inexpensive mini-laptops called netbooks, the upcoming 32-nm technology will mark the beginning of Intel's reach into smaller consumer electronics that represent much larger markets than PCs.

"All of our product line over the next year will be completely replaced with lots of new stuff," Sean Maloney, executive VP and chief sales and marketing officer for Intel, said of the company's plans to migrate to 32-nm products.

The next-generation architecture opens up many more uses for Intel chips because of the technology's ability to consume far less power in a smaller package, key requirements for the growing number of smartphones and future handheld devices people will use to access the Internet on the road. "The lower you are (in the size of chip circuitry) the less power you consume," Sunit Kikhi, VP of technology and manufacturing group for Intel, told the gathering of reporters and analysts.

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