Intel boss Craig Barratt had an upbeat message for the audience of his keynote speech at the Intel Developer Forum in San Jose yesterday. His point was simple: if developers can come up with solutions that help businesses and consumers to communicate by converging computing and telecoms technology, then the market is wide open for real growth.
He is convinced that there is a huge global market for new technologies, citing the need to replace old computing and communications devices.
"There are 160-180 million old PCs out there running Windows 95 or 98, which won't be supported beyond the end of the year… this ageing base of computing and telecoms equipment must be replaced eventually," explained Barratt.
Intel plans to be there when this anticipated growth kicks off, and Barratt believes that the company's knowledge will lie at the heart of developing technologies like broadband and wireless.
To illustrate this he showed off several concept devices, although there were no real products on show other than the Manitoba chip, released last week.
This processor was described as epitomising the convergence message, combining computing power with a 312MHz CPU and 4MB of flash memory, with DSP (digital signal processing) technology, allowing developers to come up with mobile phones that are more powerful, smaller and less power hungry.
Barratt believes that by leveraging the benefits of both communications and computing technology developers will be able to come up with better technology solutions for both home and business users. The company showed off several concept devices to illustrate just how this might be achieved.
First up was Newport, described as a "next-generation mobile solution for knowledge workers". It is a tablet-style PC which enables the user to communicate wirelessly with a remote location. It would also offer so-called "closed lid" computing. This would let a tablet PC detect networks in order to connect to the internet even with its lid down, as well allowing users to read and reply to messages via a small LCD (liquid crystal display) on the lid's top.
There was also a dual-screen desktop solution, aimed at those same knowledge workers, called Marble Falls. This allowed users to collaborate with offsite colleagues and drill down into information held on their computers.
Consumers are not left out of the picture as the Marble Falls dual-screen concept was also adapted into a system called Powersville that offers real-time video editing and, combined with a personal media player, would allow users to stream video to any screen in the house, or even to access the data remotely to stream at another location.
All three of these devices are designed to show developers how to combine the strengths of communication and computing technology to come up with products that people will actually want to buy.
The Intel Developer Forum runs from 18-21 February in San Jose, California.