The launch of Google TV yesterday marked the first step in the collaboration between Intel and Google, a partnership which could have a much wider and profound impact on the world of computing.
Google TV is currently being presented as an open platform that "adds the power of the web to the television viewing experience". It is however interesting that Intel rather than any ARM-based manufacturer like Qualcomm or Freescale has been chosen for this ambitious project.
The set top box will be powered by the Intel Atom CE4100, formerly known as Sodaville, a SoC processor that integrates an Atom processor, display, a security processor, a video display controller, a transport processor as well as a wide range of I/O support (USB 2.0, SATA 300 etc).
Launched in September 2009, the CE4100 runs at 1.2GHz, comes with 512KB cache and can decode up to two 1080p streams and integrates uncompressed 1080p A/V capture.
It will come with WiFi, HDMI as well as the necessary firepower to decode MPEG4 video. Add to this an integrated NAND Flash controller, support for DDR2/DDR3 memory and x86 compatibility and you have a fantastic game changer.
What's more, one can expect Intel to come up with a much better version of Sodaville fairly soon which will boost better performance and lower power consumption.
Because the platform, as a whole, is so close to a netbook, we shouldn't be surprised if in a near future, Intel starts pitching Android-based MIDs to its partners, something that will leave Microsoft fuming.