BARCELONA, Spain--Intel's chief technology officer kicked off a
company-sponsored conference here on Monday, outlining the chipmaker's ambitions
in the markets for telecommunications and home entertainment.
In a reprise of his recent speech at the Intel Developer
Forum in the United States in February, CTO Pat Gelsinger told attendees at the
Solutions Conference that the technology industry is finally seeing
sustainable growth in the long aftermath that followed the bursting of the
dot-com bubble in 2000.
The relatively slow uptake of Itanium 2, Intel's 64-bit, next-generation architecture, has led
the company to produce a version of its Xeon processor with 64-bit addressing
extensions, Gelsinger said. This allows the 32-bit processor to handle greater
amounts of memory without needing to recompile existing applications. Microsoft
is working on a version of Windows that uses these extended processors.
Intel is keen to tap into the telecommunications sector of the market and
sees wireless and optical technologies as the key. Gelsinger pointed out the
rapid growth of Wi-Fi and stressed that WiMax wireless broadband will simplify
building out network infrastructure.
Optical communications is also
an area for innovation. The company has recently created a silicon optical modulator chip that works at
up to 1 gigabit per second, 50 times faster than previously achieved. Using
silicon for the modulator makes fabrication cheaper. Gelsinger presented the
prototype at IDF in the United States earlier in the year.
Intel also sees a lot of growth in consumer technology, particularly in
digital home entertainment; the new breed of entertainment PCs are generally
based on Intel's desktop processors. Gelsinger said the Digital
Home Working Group is creating a set of standards that allow
interoperability between PCs, digital video recorders and other consumer
Technologies such as ultrawideband wireless and liquid
crystal on silicon (LCOS) are real opportunities for growth in the home,
according to Intel. Ultrawideband allows high-speed communication over short
ranges, making video over wireless a possibility, while LCOS brings the benefits
of silicon-based fabrication to displays, the aim being to bring down the cost
of large LCDs (liquid crystal displays).
"We want to bring Moore's Law to TVs," Gelsinger said.
There was a 15-minute delay to allow delegates to pass through the tightened
security at the conference center. Gelsinger was accompanied onstage by video
clips of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and of scientist Stephen Hawking, who revealed that his
wheelchair computer is Intel-powered.
Jonathan Bennett reports for ZDNet