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Intel Developer Forum Day 1 Coverage, The Continuum
Date: Sep 22, 2009
Author: Dave Altavilla
IDF 2009 - Paul Otellini's Continuum

We made our annual pilgrimage to Intel Developer Forum this year and upon arriving in sunny San Francisco, we were greeted with the usual IDF fanfare in a sleek, modernistic environment.  Presentations and demonstrations of Intel's latest cutting-edge technologies awaited us in the lobby as we noshed a bit on the continental breakfast buffet, but the glitz of table top demos were not what we really were after.


As Intel's slogan says: Sponsors of Tomorrow - Here soliciting "big ideas"...

Sean Maloney and Paul Otellini tee-up IDF 2009 - The Continuum
Right,Otellini holds up 22nm dinner-plate sized SRAM wafer

Intel's Sean Maloney introduced Intel President and CEO, Paul Otellini setting the backdrop for this year's Intel Developer Forum with the big idea behind the company's conference theme:  The Continuum.  Intel's Continuum is a concept and vision of the future of technology where all devices inter-operate together seamlessly, from desktops, to notebooks, netbooks, and hand-held devices all leveraging standard platform technologies and cross-platform compatibility in software. 

During the opening keynote, Otellini took the opportunity to flex Intel's manufacturing muscles, holding up an Intel manufactured 22nm SRAM test wafer.  32nm is in mass production today but 22nm technology is being test piloted now and is expected to become a production vehicle for 2H 2011.  Incidentally, the wafer is made up of 364Mb SRAM devices comprising some 2.9 billion transistors.

Westmere, Sandy Bridge and Beyond Nehalem-C
Intel then took us down the path we had been salivating for; a new generation consumer electronic devices built on next-generation Intel processor technology.  First up was a live demonstration on a next generation Intel "Core i" based core architecture code-named Sandy Bridge.  Sandy Bridge is the 32nm-based follow-on to Intel's Westmere core mobile processor technology that is expected to ship in Q4 this year.  And Sandy Bridge has a few tricks up its sleeve beyond just the high level of integration that Westmere brought to the table.

Moore Law still standing - 32nm Intel Arrendale Notebook, next gen Atom Netbooks

As we've heard previously, Intel's next gen core architectures will not only support integrated graphics but also come outfitted with an AES encryption processing engine to allow for hardware accelerated offload of encryption and decryption algorithms so as not to burden the CPU for these workloads.  Paul and company then served up a live demo of a Sandy Bridge-based notebook processing HD video in a timed demonstration .

Arrendale platform-based notebook processing HD video - no contest

Live demo of new Intel Atom-based MIDs
Atom coming to an in-car infotainment platform near you, next..

Atom platforms of the future: smaller, lower powered, higher levels of integration

Before moving on to a grand finale close in the hand-held arena, Otellini took us through a demonstration of Atom-based MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices) and Netbooks.  It's clear Atom is going to be big in Intel's future and they're not just stopping at netbooks and MIDs.  Possibly the most interesting unveiling was Intel's hand-held plan of attack that goes far beyond driving Atom down into the cellphone market.

Intel's Hand-Held Play, Moblin and Intel Apps
Finally, Otellini and his side-kicks took us through a view of Intel's efforts with the developer community, especially as it pertains to the handset market. If Intel's Atom-based Medfield platform is to be targeted for the handset market some time in the near future, they had better get cooking now on working with the software side of the solution.  In this effort, Intel is backing both Windows Mobile and of course Moblin, which is a lightweight Linux derivative for netbooks, nettops, MIDs and of course, as demonstrated today, handsets.

Intel's Moblin platform incarnate and a demonstration device built by Elektrobit

An Intel App Store?  Right:  Intel's Claire Alexander demos Moblin 2.1 on a reference handset

Finally, in a close that stole this morning's key note show, at least from our perspective, Intel unveiled that they're currently in development of an app store in support of their fledgling handset platform as well as for netbooks.  Branded as a store named "Kyol" but sponsored by Intel, Intel rolled out their plans to foster cross platform development of applications for Intel-based devices that support both Windows Mobile and Moblin.  Finally, Intel's Claire Alexander took us through a demo of Moblin 2.1 on an Intel/Moblin reference handset.  We have recorded some video footage of it in action...

That about wraps up our coverage of the first keynote from IDF 2009.  Stay tuned for future updates with more breaking coverage of the event.

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