Intel's Mooly Eden predicts future of mobility
7/30/2009 by: Darleen Hartley
At the Intel Technology Summit in San Francisco, Mooly Eden, wearing a beret and slipping in a joke or two, told us his view of the future of mobile technology. Quoting Alan Kay, a UCLA professor, he agreed that "the best way to predict the future is to invent it."
Eden, VP and General Manager of Intel's Mobile Platforms Group, gave a lively presentation to close out the Summit. He explained that when Intel announced Centrino in 2003, connectivity was a thing of the future. Since that time, the internet has exploded. And people covet it. A survey showed that if push came to shove, people would rather give up their music DVD's, their mobile phones, and even gambling, before they'd relinquish their internet access. Generation Y is leading the charge with the online social networking revolution which accounts for 50 percent of internet traffic [Cisco numbers dispute that claim - according to Cisco, 70% of all internet traffic by volume is p2p, Ed.].
Intel's prediction of the mobile future
Mooly sees the computer infiltrating homes like the telephone once did – starting with one phone per household, then one in every room, finally one phone per person. Same with computers – one per home, moving to one per room, and we'll soon see everyone having a notebook or netbook of their own. He sees netbooks following the same growth path that cell phones have. Netbook growth is faster than the Nintendo's Wii, which grew faster than the iPhone.
He says desirability, not affordability, drives sales. If you provide the device and content that people want, similar to building a baseball field, "they will come." PC, notebook, netbook, smartphone. The choice depends on how you want to use it. PC's remain a standard. The majority of netbook purchases are secondary, used mostly to surf the net. Mobile computing depends on whether you want to carry it with you, or on you, in your pocket.
Eden proclaims that the era of performance is not over. The hardware/software spiral is "alive and kicking." The micro processor's computing power is ahead of application development. Software people design for the installed base, not for the high performance capabilities of the future.
Battery life has been a fly in the ointment, although it is better. The key is energy efficient performance. Putting the computer in sleep mode can save battery life. Utilizing a faster microprocessor which can wake up, quickly finish its task, then go back to sleep is the kernel of the plan. Eden calls it "HUGI" – Hurry Up, Get Idle.
He alluded to Calpella, a platform featuring Intel Turbo Boost technology. The core that is not working is shut down, for example, between two strokes of the keyboard, the microprocessor is asleep. Lower power consumption Intel Core processors support more than seven hours of battery life.
The outside of the computer is as important as the inside. Eden agrees "Thin is in." Net books typically measure less than one inch. Notebooks will become thinner. The consumer is concerned with how it looks. As to display size, he opines that the sweet point is around 13.6 inches.
Thin brings another challenge – heat. Fans and air movement are one answer. Intel is designing smaller, more efficient fans for the latest ultra thin form factor. Those new design specs led Intel into unfamiliar territory for them, having to learn about thermal and cooling physics. He related it to a jet engine which is extremely hot, but the surrounding skin is cool. To accomplish that, small holes draw cool air from the outside which is directed along the skin. Designing the fan's air flow required CFD [Computation Fluid Dynamics] to pull air out from the netbook.
Eden says Pine Trail is the next generation Intel Atom processor-based platform for netbooks and nettops. As to the future of form factors, Eden says: "People don't want a Swiss army knife. They want compatibility. The notebook won't replace the smartphone, nor will the smartphone replace the notebook. They'll exist side by side." Is a netbook or notebook in your future? Read Intel's comparison of the two before you decide. Oddly enough, nobody said a word about upcoming crossover category, smartbooks that are coming to market in less than a quarter.
Mooly Eden, Intel, Intel Corporation, netbook, notebook, microprocessor, mobile computing, Pine Trail, Atom, WII, WiMAX, Wi-Fi, iPhone, Centrino, Core, 13.6" display, 13.6", ideal display size, Calpella, Turbo Boost, Intel Turbo, Turbo Boost technology, smartphone, smartbooks, Intel Mobile Platforms Group, Mobile Platforms Group, Alan Kay, UCLA, UCLA professor
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