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Intel's 3G Silicon Vision
Posted: 26-Feb-2004 [Source: Intel]

[Intel's COO discloses wireless strategy at 3GSM conference.]

Cannes, France -- Intel President and COO Paul Otellini today outlined Intel's plans for the growing wireless silicon market, focusing on the co-existence of broadband wireless technologies and the impact of Moore's Law on the cellular and handheld market segments. Otellini was speaking at the 3GSM World Congress 2004, the wireless industry's largest annual event.

"The wireless industry is evolving from a web of independent networks into a single, integrated wireless network with multiple standards, and no single standard is sufficient anymore, Otellini said. "There won't be a battle of competing technologies. It will be a requirement that Wi-Fi, WiMAX, and 3G coexist; and that coexistence is going to enable a host of exciting new applications and business models."

At 3GSM Intel also disclosed details of its next generation cellular and baseband processors, including a dual mode UMTS/wide-band CDMA (WCDMA) solution with an advanced receiver architecture that helps maintain higher quality signals and fewer dropped calls for phones operating on 3G networks. The upcoming family of processors, code-named Hermon, also features full videoconferencing capability.

During his keynote address, Otellini discussed how Moore's Law would impact the cellular and handheld market segments, and said the move to standards-based silicon would enable carriers and handset makers to lower costs and speed time-to-market capabilities. He also discussed the industry transition to modular communications infrastructure based on standards such as the Advanced Telecommunications and Computing Architecture (ATCA) specification and Intel processing technology.

"Our track record of innovation and integration --- putting more functionality in a smaller footprint --- will have a profound effect on these market segments where cost is a critical factor," Otellini said. As part of the discussion on Moore's Law, Otellini outlined some of Intel's research efforts in software-driven radio and reiterated the company's long-term vision to eventually put multi-protocol radios on to every chip it builds.

He also unveiled a new three-radio reference design for cell phones with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GSM/GPRS capability built-in, running Intel's latest applications processor and Intel StrataFlash(r) memory. The phone supports multiple full-featured operating systems, plays MP3 music files with PC-quality sound, and includes a 1.3 mega pixel digital camera for pictures and video. Intel's reference design offers handset makers who want to provide cell phones capable of accessing high-speed wireless networks --- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or 2.5G --- a complete platform to work from.

Otellini concluded his remarks by focusing on the significant WiMAX opportunity over the next several years. He predicted a WiMAX "inflection point" in the 2006-2008 timeframe similar to what happened with Wi-Fi over the past few years, and said WiMAX capability would be available in notebook computers by 2006, followed by handsets in 2007.

Intel is developing standardized, high-performance silicon to address all of the multiple broadband wireless technologies, as well as a range of products for modular communications networks that will be crucial in the deployment of broadband wireless. It will begin shipping its first WiMAX chips later this year.

Industry Support

In related news at 3GSM, Siemens Information and Communication Mobile Group announced the introduction of a new standards-based telecom architecture designed to speed development time and simplify mobile service deployment for carriers. The platform is based on the ATCA specification and will be developed using compute and network processors from Intel. In addition, Intel said ASUSTek, one of the leading manufacturers in Taiwan, will develop a new series of feature phones based on Intel's PXA800F cellular processor, and new smart phones based on Intel's Hermon processors as well as Intel's next generation applications processor. Also, Intel and Orange, a leader in mobile communications and mobile-based services and applications, said they will work together to bring a number of next-generation cell phones to market with compelling wireless applications and services.

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