Intel is ramping up its focus on support for wireless devices after showcasing the initial fruits of collaboration with mobile device manufacturers.
The chip giant has vowed to target aggressively what it sees as the rapidly burgeoning market for wireless devices including personal digital assistants (PDAs) and personal video players.
It says the extended computing division is the foundation of its strategy to pursue new markets including wireless screens, adaptors and telematics.
Intel's Xscale processor went into production in April this year. Today more than 10 manufacturers - including Fujitsu Siemens and Hitachi in Europe - are using it for their PDAs.ÿ
Speaking at the Intel Developers' Forum in San Jose this week, Hans Geyer, vice president and general manager of the company's Personal Client Architecture components group, said momentum in the area of wireless technology was growing. "Xscale has ramped into products faster than any other application processor."
He added that Intel was addressing convergence between mobile and PDA communications by providing common development tools across its Xscale, Pentium an Itanium lines. These include common debuggers, performance optimisation tools and performance libraries.
"It means there's a huge base of software developers who can immediately get going on this Xscale platform," he said.
Plans to introduce MMX multimedia instructions into Xscale would offer higher performance or the ability to run processors at a higher frequency and a 40 per cent reduction in power consumption.
"The addition of MMX instructions is another step that eases the portability of one architecture to wireless handheld devices," Geyer said.
Meanwhile, consumer electronics company Sonic Blue is using the Intel PXA250 processor in a new portable video player to download audio and video. The Replay TV PVP is slated for public availability next year.
Intel is also collaborating with Philips on an audio visual reference design built on the PXA250 processor. The first platform off this reference design will be announced later this month.
"We want to expand into a whole range of new marketplaces. Wireless MMX is just the first next step. It will mushroom into a platform of choice for wireless technology," said Peter Green, general manager of Intel's extended computing division.
But Intel executive vice president Sean Maloney warned that an assault on the market would not be without its challenges, with security and support for multiple wireless standards topping the list of concerns.
"Multiple standards are confusing customers and we will ruin this industry if we don't address this," he said.
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