IDF: Ultramobile Intel processor breaks cover, adopts Linux, gets alliance.

"The mobile Internet spiral is exploding!" - Dadi Perlmutter, IntelThe new mobile processor is codenamed Silverthorne.

"The mobile Internet spiral is exploding!" - Dadi Perlmutter, Intel

The new mobile processor is codenamed Silverthorne. It's on a 45nm platform, runs with a chipset called Poulsbo and sits at the heart of a platform called Menlow which will launch next year.

And that's all Intel's saying. There's a die shot of the thing and there's lots of nice marketing stuff about designed for mobile from the ground up (implicitly admitting that this year's ultramobile processors, the A100 and A110 "Stealey" in the mobile platform codenamed McCaslin, is old. In fact, it's a 90nm Dothan), and some nice demos of boxes roughly the size and shape of a PSP running desktop apps, but as for power, speed, cache, architecture details... well, if Intel is saying, it didn't in the keynote. The platform will be four times less power-hungry, four times smaller and have five times the battery life over "2006" - I didn't understand that bit, as Intel didn't have a comparable producct in 2006. Investigations ongoing.

New products based on McCaslin will be out this summer, with much nicer ones next year. To that end, Intel has convened the Mobile Internet Device Innovation Alliance - the idea is that you'll only buy this stuff if it connects to the net by wireless, and that's not wrong - with its friends in Elektrobit, Compal, Asus, Quanta, Inventec, Benq and HTC. (You may spot some names missing there, names you'll find on the mobile internet access device currently in your pocket. The war between WiMax and HSDPA will be bloody.) HTC's CEO Peter Chou came on stage and showed off the HTC/Dopod Shift, a handheld Windows tablet with what looked like a very useful hinge-out keyboard: one of these days, we'll have a portable device that's as nice to use as the Psion Series 5.

One quick slide that said "Thanks, Microsoft!" for 'collaboration', and then on to an announcement that people were demanding optimised Linux on the ultramobile platform and that Red Flag Linux and Ubuntu were now the first Linux OSVs. Not quite sure what the practical implications of that are, but Linux does make a very good software platform for portable devices with a bit of welly - just the right mix of information appliance and flexibility.

As for the rest of the keynote - be thankful you weren't there. Two ounces of fact wrapped up twenty cubic meters of marketing. Although there was a ripple of appreciation when the rousing call to arms for WiMax takeup - "This is when we make WiMax happen. 2007 is the year for cleaning up the technology for delivery next year." - was slightly sullied by the demo of streaming video over WiMax from the Olympic stadium next door.

It didn't stream. It didn't even trickle. "Building on tradition" was the keynote theme - so it's good to see that the oldest and most honourable tradition of IDF, that streaming video doesn't and isn't, is holding true even in the age of 45nm

More later...

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