Intel unveils mobile space savers

Its new generation of mobile concepts, designed for users with space constraints, can be brought to market within two years, says Intel executive.

TAIPEI--Intel's fourth-generation design concepts point toward a strong focus on coming up with new ideas for mobile computing devices.

At the Intel Developer Forum in Taiwan, the chipmaker's chief mobile technology evangelist Michael Trainor, on Monday showcased two concept mobile computers built for users who need advanced mobile technologies but are also concerned about space constraints.

He noted that the prototypes were developed under the 2006 mobile concept program dubbed Montevallo, and will be shared with Intel's hardware partners and the wider industry during the year.

In comparison with previous years, Trainor said that Intel is "seeing more serious interest [from hardware manufacturers] in doing something with some of the features [in the concept machines]". He added that the concepts could be available in the market "within a year or two", but did not elaborate on which hardware makers are likely to be early adopters.

One of the concept machines, built for frequent business travelers or "road warriors", has integrated WiMax and RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) capabilities and sport a unique form factor that has been designed for use in constrained spaces.

The laptop's screen can be raised higher to accommodate users when they are at their desks. When the user's work space is compromised such as in airplanes, the screen can be raised and pulled toward the user. The display can also be pushed toward the user, placed in front of the keyboard, and used as a presentation screen.

The second concept device is targeted at consumers who want one machine for both work and leisure. Designed to support multimedia features, the laptop doubles up as a tablet PC and is fitted with a DVB (digital video broadcast) tuner, supporting both the DVB-T (DVB-television) and DVB-H (DVB-handheld) standards.

Both concept machines are designed for Santa Rosa, the codename for a new Intel platform targeted for release in the first half of 2007. Santa Rosa will comprise the new low-power mobile processor Merom, another new chipset called Crestline, and the Kedron wireless chip that supports the 802.11n standard.

Vivian Yeo of ZDNet Asia reported from Taipei, Taiwan.

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