Intel's new CEO Paul Otellini (and a 30-year veteran of the company) kicked off the Intel Developer Forum with a new line and sigh of relief: Growth is back. "Count on us to continue the relentless pursuit of Moore's Law, new levels of performance, energy efficiency and communications," he said during his 59-minute keynote. A major portion of his talk was devoted to power consumption, and he provided a clockspeed-to-multicore-shift roadmap and demoed (the machines were turned on, basically) the new, lower power, 65-nanometer, dual core processors (code names: Merom, Conroe, Woodcrest) that will ship in the second half of next year. Intel will ship 60 million dual-core processors in the next 18 months, Otellini said. He made no mention of the Itanium. Apparently, it's being saved for enterprise sessions at IDF.
65-nanometer dual-core reference system
During the press conference after the keynote, Otellini was asked about the AMD full-page ads running in major newspapers today, challenging Intel to a bake-off of their 64-bit processors. He dodged the challenge, using his best datapoint, "I have always thought companies and products are judged best in the marketplace." Based on AMD's growth rate, the market has spoken, but it's early in the game.
By the end of the decade Intel will deliver 10x reduction in energy consumption across a variety of devices and 10x the performance of today's products, Otellini said. Google Fellow Urs Holzle was brought on stage to tout the virtues of dual core and low power. "Energy costs can amount to half the cost of a PC over four years," Holzle said. Otellini added that by using low-power chips, users could collectively save $1 billion in electricity cost (in California dollars) annually for every 100 million units sold. Otellini also tapped Lenovo CEO Stephen Ward to show off Intel capabilities, such as hardware virtualization.
Otellini claimed that there is a “new normal” (different from Roger McNamee’s notion), which seemed to refer to the idea that users expect capabilities like Wi-Fi to be available. He showed a map of San Francisco hot spots, pre- and post-Centrino introduction, with almost every square inch of the map heavily dotted with Wi-Fi access today. About 95 percent of notebooks today ship with W-Fi, but that doesn't equate to Intel Centrino-based machines sucking up the bandwidth. Intel is also a major supporter of WiMax, and Otellini gave a brief demo, video conferencing with an Indian official near the Nepalese border via WiMax.
Lenovo CEO Stephen Ward and Intel CEO Paul Otellini
Otellini also showed a reference design for emerging markets (which account for 35 percent of Intel's business today) without much sophisticated infrastructure. The system, designed for use in rural India, uses a car battery to withstand power outages and has a built-in dust filter community.
Finally, Otellini played with some numbers, calculating (salivating) that with 300 million broadband subscribers worldwide, each with four people and at least two viewing devices and growing, content providers have access to billions of screens. "It's the retooling and rethinking of the living room with technology at the center," he said. In other words, where you are is where you can be entertained in high definition. The pieces--processors, storage, bandwidth and content protection--have come together, he said. He demoed a "secure" HD movie clip playing simultaneously on 12 separate screens (see photo below). "You can think about deploying content in weeks rather than years to reach billions," Otellini said.