IDF Spring 2007 – Day Two – Keynote – Wimax and UMPC

Intel talks up Wimax and 'McCaslin' and 'Menlow' UMPC platforms announced.

Gordon’s gun jumping story yesterday suggested that new UMPCs would be dropping Windows like a ton of bricks, but in fact Perlmutter stated that all of the 2007 units would use Windows. However, after tactfully restating the strength of its relationship with Microsoft on UMPC Perlmutter said that, “in response to customer needs”, it will be offering support for Linux and the Unbuntu distribution.

Following McCaslin will be Menlow, scheduled to arrive by the first half of 2008. This will reduce overall average consumption to 4x less than that of the original 2006 models, based on MobileMark 2005 benchmarks. Anand got quite excited about Menlow, which is built from the ground up for UMPC, while McCarslin is derived from Dothan, which is getting on a bit in CPU terms.

The CPU inside Menlow will be Silverthorne, based on Intel’s 45nm process. The chipset will be Poulsbo, though no details were given.

In Steve Jobs style, Chandrasekher then pulled a Menlow based UMPC from his pocket and demoed it accessing YouTube and steaming a video, something well beyond the capabilities of today’s UMPCs.

He was then joined on stage by Peter Chou, president of HTC, holding its new McCaslin based keyboard equipped UMPC called, for some reason, ‘Shift’.

However, the impression I took away from the keynote, no doubt unintended, is to not bother with the 2007 devices, which will still be hampered by a lack of power, and hang on for the 2008 units. However, if the idea of UMPC is starting to appeal you’ll want someone to buy now to help promote the platform and get the software ecosystem up and running for when Menlow based units arrive.

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