Intel CEO Paul Otellini started his CES keynote with a walk through computing history, from the green screen, 28-pound laptop to the handheld entertainment device and how Moore's Law continues to drive change. "All things digital are dancing on an exponential curve...yielding profound changes and revolutionary advances...now we expect Wi-Fi in coffee shop and to personalized music on the fly." He gave the example of Intel's mobile Centrino campaign (30 million systems sold) as an example of the "new normal."
He then dove into the fact that people are multitasking and demand more performance and lower power devices. Intel has undergone a massive shift in development to multicore to address this new era of pervasive computing--more powerful, less heat and better battery life and smaller devices. He introduced the next generation Centrino--the Duo, which Otellini said is 60 percent faster and has 28 percent longer battery life than the previous Pentium M generation. Intel mobile exec Sean Maloney then came on stage to demo new Centrino Duo notebooks.
Otellini then went on about the processor family--the Core Duo--which underpins Intel's "revolution." It's three times smaller than a Pentium, is the lowest power dual core and is 100 times more powerful than the original Pentium, Otellini said. It will blur differences between desktop, mobile and handheld devices, he added. Michael Dell shows off a souped up Dell entertainment PC.
No movie or rock stars on stage yet.
Now Otellini has moved from entertainment on the go to the living room--Viiv, technology for making home entertainment really work and was first introduced at the Intel Developer Forum last year. AMD introduced its own version--Live--this week, based on its own multicore core technology.
Intel's Viiv honcho Don McDonald came on stage for the Viiv pitch. Over 60 companies are bringing services, such as HDTV and gaming, to the Viiv PCs. He said the Core Duo Viiv devices would be priced below $900 and are available from various vendors. Viiv has an HD media library and you can use the remote to identify, acquire and play, McDonald said. Then Otellini goes on about Viiv revolutionizing entertainment, and talks about partners developing for Viiv until a "Content Omitted" comes on the screen (I'm watching the live Webcast feed) for about 30 seconds (what was it?). DirectTV pitches its Viiv support--working with Intel to develop and integrate a satellite tuner PC to allow access to content on various devices in the home. The DirectTV set top will take PC content and make it accessible on a big screen TV.
AOL CEO Jonathon Miller joins Otellini on the stage to endorse Viiv and demo ad-supported Time Warner content and an ad-supported (he emphasized) AOL music service due later this year supporting Viiv and a remote control environment. "Its a pivotal moment...convergence...great content, platforms, viewing experience and business model," Miller said.
NBC executive Jeff Zucker does his bit for Viiv via video, announcing an NBC-Viiv service for delivering high-resolution video highlights from the Winter Olympics games in February.
Hollywood moment: Morgan Freeman and Lori McCleary come on stage to talk about the joint venture with Intel, ClickStar. "We are creating a revolutinary way films are released, made and viewed," Freeman said. Freeman brings out Danny DiVito, Tom Hanks and Brad Silberling to pump ClickStar as a democratization of film making and distribution. Freeman and McCleary annound their first ClickStar film, "10 Items or Less" written and directed by Brad Silberling and starring Morgan Freeman, and optimized for Viiv PCs. More Hollywood banter and the impact of bringing content directly to audiences. [Watch a 5 minute video clip]
Otellini wraps up with the new normal, leaping ahead, "a rising baseline of fun made possible by the right technolgies, standards and platforms, brought to life by the human imagination." In sum, Intel is bringing its dual core systems to market, trying to sustain its Centrino marketing, looking to gain traction with Viiv as a de facto standard for digital entertainment devices and hobnobbing with Hollywood. That's the old normal put on the back of a new processor. It's all good progress, following Moore's Law (which germinated at Intel), but that doesn't make Duo processor (or Opteron) unique or revolutionary. A new normal would be systems that were truly powerful, simple and reliable, and the latest generation is a step in the right direction.