Intel Boosts Cell Phone Chips, Touts WiMAX

Intel said Thursday it will release new processors this year to boost performance of cell phones and PDAs. The company also said it expects rollouts of WiMAX broadband networks to

February 19, 2004

3 Min Read
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Intel will take several steps this year to boost performance of cell phones and PDAs, releasing new memory and processors that are smaller and consume less power, Intel Executive Vice President Sean Maloney said Thursday.

Maloney also said the industry is poised to begin a rollout of WiMAX, the next-generation broadband network, in the first half of next year. The move ostensibly would bring wireless broadband access to regions where copper and cable have stalled.

In remarks at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, Maloney, who runs Intel's Communications Group, said the company would begin shipping its first 90-nanometer NOR Flash by the third quarter of the year with samples out by April.

The smaller memory will use less power and provide more efficiency in handheld devices and will be less of a drain on devices as they tap into digital and streaming applications over the wireless, broadband network.

Maloney called it "classic Moore's Law," the theory that compute power will double and prices will drop substantially every 18 months.Still, Maloney conceded that some work is still unfinished.

"There's a huge amount that needs to be done over the next two to three years with these devices so they can come on instantly," Maloney said. "One of the ways we can do that is shrinking the [component] geographies."

In addition, he said Intel would ship a 3-D multimedia accelerator for handhelds later this quarter and a second generation of communication processors in the first half of 2005. The goal is to boost the adoption of more mobile communication and computing across the IP network.

Maloney said broader adoption of wireless computing and data transfer would continue to boost workplace and business efficiency.

"In Hong Kong recently, we observed at the McDonald's, as you walk in, someone is taking your order on a WiFi PDA," Maloney said. "They take your order, so by the time you walk up, your food is already under preparation. They say it takes a minute out of the cycle. A minute by a billion burgers is a big deal."On the back end, Maloney said the broadband infrastructure will get a boost starting next year when WiMAX connectivity will be installed publicly for the first time. Plans call for antennas to be attached to radio and cell towers, providing data transmission into private homes and businesses. At the receiving end, the consumer would put "a simple antenna on the outside of their home" during the "indoor installation" phase of the process in the second half of 2005, Maloney said.

More efficient, better-performing mobile computing devices will be able to take advantage of the broadband transfer of digital media and increased amounts of data, he added. Intel executives have been suggesting increasingly for the past several months that the company's and the industry's business model will evolve into a greater, digitally converged network where high-definition content becomes the center.

"We think this is a big deal," Maloney said. "We think it's very good news for the industry."

Article appears courtesy of CRN.

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