CES 2010: Intel CEO Otellini shows off holographic glass display, multipoint smartphone videoconferencing

CES 2010: Intel CEO Paul Otellini took the stage at CES 2010 to demonstrate how his company's embedded chips are driving the newest high-flying technology applications.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

LAS VEGAS ---What do three-dimensional television, split-screen videoconferencing on your smartphone and holographic glass retail displays all have in common?

They're all powered by Intel technology.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini took the stage at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show to demonstrate how his company's embedded chips are driving the newest high-flying technology applications. In an impressive display of technical prowess, Otellini explained how his company plans to be directly involved in the consumer electronic industry's migration to the connected web.

"Every two years, we schedule a breakthrough," Otellini said, citing the company's newly announced 32-nanometer microprocessors, which he said were 5,000 times faster and 100,000 times cheaper than the company's first microprocessor from the 1970s.

One of those breakthroughs is 3D television. At this year's CES, all the major home theater companies -- Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, LG -- are diving headfirst into 3D HDTV and movies, with new television sets that support the technology for the living room.

But all that 3D content needs computing power. Enter Intel.

"Creating and managing 3D content requires a ton of computing," Otellini said. "We see 3D moving from the studio to the home. And we're providing the computing horsepower to make that happen."

"The computer is now the center of viewing and creating videos in HD. It'd be even cooler if we could make 3D content in our own home."

Citing the statistic that half a billion homes worldwide have access to the broadband Internet, Otellini noted that online video is getting "richer" and users need computing muscle to keep up.

Otellini cited, LightPeak, a single-cable 10Gbps standard that's faster than USB 3.0 Superspeed and allows for the download of a Blu-ray movie in less than 30 seconds.

"You can expect PCs to have this technology about a year from now," he said.

Otellini also introduced the Intel Wireless Display -- or "Wi-Di" -- which allows for over the Wi-Fi network streaming with a 2010 Core Intel laptop. Partnerships cited included Best Buy, Netgear, Dell, Sony and Toshiba.

"We see computing extending beyond the PC and into the television," Otellini said, calling them "smart TVs" with advanced search and gesture recognition capabilities.

"I believe the world of [home] entertainment will also be driven by Moore's Law," he said.

Otellini also took a green tack, noting that the slow migration toward smart homes and a national smart grid would also open doors for Intel's technology.

In the United States, the demand for electricity will grow 19 percent in the next decade, Otellini said, and "intelligent systems have the potential to reduce the household energy cost by 31 percent."

Otellini demonstrated an Intel "Digital Crib" with three rooms. In the first, the living room, he demonstrated live stream previews on the TV's built-in menu guide and more IPTV, or "Internet Protocol TV", technology. He also showed off a web-enabled, gyroscopic remote.

In the second room, Otellini demonstrated how, using a new $100 Netgear device, a user can send a a TV signal on-the-fly from a computer to an HDTV in one click.

In the third room, Otellini showed off Intel's Atom-based, Internet-connected home energy management dashboard, where a homeowner can manage his or her home's energy consumption from one place with real-time data and prices from the utility company.

Otellini then shifted gears to the mobile space, stressing the importance of the smartphone in the Internet-connected ecosystem.

"What happens when you step outside the door? Computing has become more and more mobile," Otellii said. "[Mobile devices] often have the most context about us -- they know where we are; they know what we're doing."

Citing the continued popularity of the netbook -- more than 40 million were shipped in the last 18 months, he said -- Otellini introduced the beta version of Intel AppUp, a netbook app center.

Otellini then introduced the company's Atom-based smartphone platform, codenamed "Morsetown." On stage, an Intel representative demonstrated a new, Moblin-based LG smartphone that allows for multipoint, three-way, split-screen videoconferencing right on the device.

"Smartphones truly embody personal computing," he said. "While 3G is good, it's just not fast enough...we're going to need 4G."

Intel is looking to position itself to be a part of that trend.

"More computing power is needed," Otellini said. "Our goal is very simple. We believe that every electronic device will eventually connect to the Internet."

Finally, Otellini demonstrated what possibly was the most impressive technical demonstration at a keynote here at CES, a holographic glass digital display that activates when you're near it and can digitally visually tag actual physical objects sitting behind it.

His example: a retail clothing store with shelves of clothes behind the glass. Powered by Core i7 processors for multiperson use, the glass display can tag the actual object you see sitting behind the glass -- such as "Levi's 505 jeans" -- so you can then try them on or buy them, combining the data-driven online retail approach with the satisfaction of a brick-and-mortar experience.

The augmented reality demonstration wowed the audience.

"What you saw today wasn't science fiction...it was science," Otellini said, adding that his company was already working on wearable sensors that personalize your smartphone based on your mood, and wireless electrical power transmission over several inches of air.

"We believe that our job is to invent the future," he said.

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