Extreme to Mainstream

What's extreme today is mainstream tomorrow, at least according to Paul Otellini.

As is traditional at the Intel Developer Forum, the opening keynote was delivered by CEO, Paul Otellini, and the focus of his speech was Extreme to Mainstream. This was an interesting angle to take, indicating that today’s high-end, high-performance and high-cost technology, is tomorrow’s bread and butter. Of course this is not a new concept, and I myself have often commented on how technology rolls down hill, so to speak. However, this is the first time that I can remember a company like Intel basing an entire presentation on the idea.

Otellini split things up into three sections relating to Intel’s contributions to technology – History of Innovation, Unparalleled Capabilities and The Next Mainstream. To highlight the first section, Otellini showed an image of a man working on a notebook in a public area. The image below is a common site these days – walk into any coffee shop and you’re likely to see people sitting there, working on their laptops, connected to the Internet and listening to their MP3 players. In fact, When I’m out and about that’s exactly how I get my work done.

Otellini pointed out that although this sight is par for the course today, five years ago, it would have been pure fantasy. The idea of sitting in a public place, wirelessly connected to the Internet was a dream for mobile workers, while now it’s considered to be a necessary resource. And with the increased speeds of HSDPA and lowering costs of mobile data, you’re just as likely to see someone sitting in the park working on their laptop as you are to see them in Starbucks!

What’s important about this image of mobile computing, is the amount of research, development and innovation that was necessary to achieve it. The image below shows the four main criteria that got mobile computing to where it is today, and although Intel isn’t responsible for all of it, it had a hand in much of it.

The Processor/Architecture component of mobile computing has been driven by Intel over the years, with the latest Core 2 Duo chips bringing unparalleled performance to the mobile user. Improved connectivity over the years has made working on the move a reality without compromise – Intel helped make Wi-Fi a ubiquitous feature when it launched the Centrino platform and is now pushing WiMAX as the next generation of wireless connectivity.

Improvements in memory technology have had a huge impact on mobile computing, with flash based solid state disks starting to appear in notebooks, and Intel’s own Robson speeding up data access in Santa Rosa based machines. Finally, there’s Power, an area where Intel has been working extremely hard. The fact that notebooks with over five hours battery life is the norm, and up to eight or nine hours battery life is possible, is testament to Intel’s commitment in this area.

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