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New Intel Chip Has Fast Clock Speed

Word was barely out that Intel plans to drop its practice of using MHz clock speed as the defining spec for its processors, when another word came that a soon-to-be-announced Intel Xscale processor will offer an exciting feature: a fast MHz clock speed. The new PDA processor is clocked at 520-MHz, which caused a stir at last week's CeBIT show, in Hannover, Germany, where two PDAs based on the processor were demonstrated.

As for the new system of presenting specs, Intel said it will signify features in addition to clock speed, indicating it might include battery power and wireless capability, for instance. The move wasn't entirely unexpected, as Intel's archrival, AMD, has been calling for the elimination of clock speeds as the defining processor feature, attacking the practice as "megahertz myth."

Press reports have quoted Intel as saying the new system is a means of presenting other processor features. The new numbering system is expected to start gradually, beginning in May.

Taiwanese PDA manufacturer Asustek Computer showed two handhelds at the German show based on the new Intel processor. The ASUS MyPal A730 offers 128 MB RAM, dual ComplactFlash Type II expansion slots, and is equipped with a 1.3-megapixel digital camera. The device shown at CeBIT had Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. Another model, the ASUS MyPal A8100 Windows Mobile Smartphone is, likewise, based on the Intel Xscale 520-MHz processor.

And what about Microsoft? Well, in addition to waiting for Intel to announce the underlying processor technology, it is due to unveil a new version of its Windows Mobile 2003 "Ozone" software for PDAs. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at Wednesday's conference on mobile software in San Francisco, and observers are looking for an announcement on the software at that time.

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