March 23, 2006
 

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Posted: 06.30.05

Full Plate for Intel

Intel canít seem to stay out of the headlines these days. Between the rumors of its deal with Apple, which covered the wireless tabloids for weeks, to its increasing presence in specialty computing markets, Intel, one could say, seems up be to something.
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By Teresa von Fuchs




The buzz started a few weeks ago with the announcement of its Professional Business Platform. Intel, it appears, is looking to do to enterprise computing what it did with Centrino and wireless technology; this new platform combines security, management and communication technologies and a microprocessor all under one enterprise umbrella. Intel has done well with Centrino, and it expects similar results with this new business platform, calling these added tools a response to industry demands. The technical specs are based on Intel’s new 945G Express Chipset, the optional PROM/1000 PM network connection and Pentium 4 Processor. A key feature includes Active Management Technology, which will allow IT managers to remotely access and work on any enabled machine, whether that machine is operational or not. This platform furthers Intel’s strategy to converge computing and communication.

As does the recent announcement that U.K.-based carrier O2 has finally made a home for Intel’s Manitoba mobile phone platform. Intel launched Manitoba in 2003 but had yet to place it. The platform combines an applications processor, cellular modem and flash memory onto a single piece of silicon. O2 announced that it will use the platform in a music/media-centered phone to be available in the U.K. and Germany later this year.

And the latest bit of interesting Intel news, announced last week, is that Apple will begin using Intel chips in its Macintosh computers by this time next year. At Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, June 6-10, CEO Steve Jobs demonstrated OS X Tiger running on an Intel-based Mac during his keynote address. He also stated that the company expects to transition all of its Macs to the Intel processors by the end of 2007.

Apple currently uses IBM’s PowerPC line of processors, and many in the industry thought the switch to x86 chips wouldn’t make sense for Apple because applications would have to be redesigned for the new chips. But Apple, one step ahead, had already created an emulsion layer, called Rosetta, which helps PowerPC apps run natively on Intel Macs. During the demonstration, a Microsoft representative also announced that future versions of Microsoft Office for Mac will support both PowerPC and Intel processors, and an Adobe representative agreed it would do the same. Apple has already started offering a Developer Transition Kit, and Intel plans to provide development tools support for Apple later this year.

Analysts have cited that the switch stems from Apple’s frustration with IBM’s inability to provide PowerPC chips compatible with its laptop lines and for falling behind in the dual core race. Though Apple’s departure doesn’t look good for IBM, Big Blue has just announced major gaming contracts this month with Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft, all much higher-volume customers.

About the new partnership, Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini announced, “We are thrilled to have the world’s most innovative personal computer company as a customer. Apple helped found the PC industry and throughout the years has been known for fresh ideas and new approaches. We look forward to providing advanced chip technologies, and to collaborating on new initiatives for years to come.”
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