Wednesday, September 22, 2010

IDF 2010 - Computing Solutions provider, not just Chipmaker


First off, Intel continues to reiterate that desktop PC growth remains strong, with the total install base of PCs - both desktops and notebooks - of 1.4 billion units. Growth is projected to stay strong at 1 million PCs being sold per day across the world. Intel believes growth lies in the relatively untapped emerging markets - even with 1.4 billion installed, there are billions of users without desktops:

To continue growth, Intel recognizes that there's a spectrum of different computing experiences, of which the desktop is just a small part. That spans the gamut from desktops to embedded platforms, and Intel is hoping to get x86 Intel Architecture into all of those. No single device is going to win or satisfy the need of pervasive computing, as people move between platforms nearly seamlessly every day.

Part of delivering those experiences beyond just the desktop - and delivering them well - means that Intel must be ready to deliver a complete system platform. That means much more than a motherboard, support, and leaving software integration to the customer. Beyond netbooks and into smartphone and more embedded applications, delivering connectivity and a consistently enjoyable experience on smaller form factors and even smaller power envelopes becomes increasingly hard. Intel is becoming a systems provider to lower time to market and hope to deliver the kind of polished devices users expect.

Intel - Chip Company to Computing Solutions Provider

Next up is Intel's rationale for its recent suite of acquisitions - Infineon, Texas Instrument's cable modem group, and McAfee. All three of these are part of a conscious effort for Intel to build what it considers to be the three pillars of computing.

You can pretty much tell right from the slide which category each acquisition fits into. McAfee will eventually become part of an on-chip security solution like vPro on steroids.

That means moving from the current industry's model of "known bad" process detection and kiling to "known good" that will secure a machine by only allowing trusted software to run. Hopefully this is something like TPM but for the datacenter.

Similarly, the acquisition of Infineon - who incidentally is the chief supplier of basebands for the iPhone and iPad 3G stacks - is part of driving power consumption down. Bring the baseband onto Moorestown or other Intel SoCs just like Qualcomm does, and you'll decrease package space and also get power benefits. Not to mention Infineon comes along with considerable 3G and 4G LTE talent:

Finally, the TI cable division will empower a suite of Smart TV and cable services. We'll probably see a lot of Smart TV and home theatre targeted solutions out of IDF 2010. Look no further than this morning, where Intel has already sealed the deal with the Boxee Box, which runs an Intel modified kernel.

Speaking of software, that's the last item on the "computing solutions" slide. Intel wants to be heavily optimized on all platforms, and now there are more than ever:

Working with each of those platforms, and their own with MeeGo is of chief importance for staying at the core of computing experiences that aren't just on the desktop.

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