But of course the big news was the announcement of the forthcoming Napa mobile platform, which comes just a few weeks after the launch of Sonoma. Scheduled for the end of 2005, Napa will bring with it some major advancements over the outgoing technology.
First and foremost, the Napa platform will support the Yonah processor which brings with it two heavy hitting features. Yonah will be the first mobile CPU based on Intel’s 65nm manufacturing process, but even more crucial is the fact that it will be Intel’s first ever dual-core mobile chip.
Yonah will bring with it significant performance gains over the current chips, and will allow mobile users to run multiple applications simultaneously without worrying about the CPU getting bogged down. Mobile dual-core chips also make the idea of mobile workstation machines far more attractive, even to heavy duty users.
But Napa isn’t just about the new CPU, it will also bring with it completely new wireless hardware, whereas Sonoma just carried over the existing wireless solution. The new wireless adapter is called Golan and it brings with it a greatly reduced form factor, allowing for far slimmer notebooks.
When it comes to battery life, Intel said that battery life definitely won’t be any worse with the new platform, although obviously it would be good to see battery life improve. Intel’s goal is to achieve eight hours of battery life from a notebook, but obviously battery life is dependant on many things other than processors and chipsets.
Below is a Yonah chip running in a reference board, showing that the 65nm, dual-core mobile solution is a reality. The second picture shows that both cores in the Yonah chip are processing concurrently.
Following on from Craig Barrett’s mention of WiMAX, Maloney expanded somewhat. Much of the world doesn’t even have a wired telephony network, so rolling out standard broadband as we know it isn’t an option. The solution, as far as Intel sees it is WiMAX as a high-speed, wide-area wireless Internet solution.
To show the benefits of WiMAX, Intel showed a video detailing a movie premier that was shown at the Sundance Film Festival. Intel set up a WiMAX transceiver and streamed the movie directly to the Cinema over the Internet.
Just expanding Intel’s experiment across the film industry in general, reduces printing and distribution costs to almost nothing – although of course the other side of the coin is that it could put the printing and distribution industries out of business.
Intel is completely committed to WiMAX and wants to see it proliferate in a similar way to WiFi hotspots, which Intel stated had reached a worldwide total exceeding 60,000. Having wide ranging, high-speed, wireless Internet access via WiMAX could mean that those Centrino ads where people get connected just about anywhere will start to ring true.