IDF San Fran 2010 frenzy begins

Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel Corporation kicked off IDF San Francisco 2010 and delivered the first keynote speech of the event.

According to the Intel chief, Intel has, over the past couple of years, turned into something much bigger than just a chipmaker. It's now a "computing solutions" business bent on delivering top to bottom solutions based on three strategic pillars: security, internet connectivity and energy efficiency. Intel is calling this new vision the "computing continuum".

This branching out of business will require some gymnastics (and the likely appointing of new division heads), if Intel is to succeed as well as it has in the silicon business.

The New New Intel

Of course you know where this is going. Intel has been building up assets in all of these areas (the last one was already part of the core business), and is finally delivering on the solutions as a whole. McAfee, Wind River, Infineon's wireless business are just the tip of the iceberg.

So what does Intel call "security"? Well based on Intel's prior experience with security (ie: VPro, TPM, etc...) it's the opposite of the usual security approach. According to Otellini, security revolves around blocking out, or rather, blacklisting, suspicious content and keeping a strong database of stuff that's blocked. Intel's approach is more related to establishing secure connections or trusted relationships, (ie: whitelisting,.) stuff.

By stuff we actually mean just about anything you can categorize: people, software, coworkers, documents and so forth.

Then comes the internet connectivity pillar. This one might be the one Intel has least control over, as market forces are pretty strong in this one (*cough*). Intel thinks that devices are getting smarter and there is a need for internet connectivity and broadening the pipe. There are 5 billion internet-connected devices right now, 2.8 billion of which are smart enough to offer the user something more than "fire and forget" tasks, 1 billion might be the ones Otellini referred to as "PCs". GoogleTV will go live this week with the help of buddy-buddy Intel and it is probably the singlemost important launch in terms of the "connectivity" pillar.

The only point of content is that Intel thinks it's the "emerging markets that are driving broadband adoption"... you'd agree, but Intel is investing in WiMAX (800 million users to the end of 2010) and having bought Infineon's wireless business, it now has control over LTE. Both "4G" wireless connection technologies that are being rolled out in the so-called "First Worlrd" and will continue to be over the next couple of years. It takes some business savvy to do this after they've invested so much in WiMAX. It's almost like saying "yeah, WiMax is the stuff, but just in case let's also back the other horse". Let's see if Intel eventually admits to having done this.

Energy efficiency is the last pillar in the New Intel. Intel has been banging this drum since 2005 and it has become the staple of Intel processor development, as energy efficiency is intricately bound with intelligent power consumption and low leakage - things that you need to get done to shrink to even smaller fabbing processes while attempting to keep performance high.

Once we managed to wade through Intel's "State of the Nation" presentation, the Intel CEO announced the highlights of IDF San Fran 2010, and those were: 2nd generation Intel Core architecture (ie: Sandy Bridge). This is what he had to say about Sandy Bridge, sorry, the 2nd Generation Intel Core processor:

"Sandy Bridge will revolutionize PC's again. It was codenamed Sandy Bridge. We will launch it under the Intel branded name of the 2nd Generation Intel Core processor. This chip has unprecented feature integration for us. On one single chip we've put in place all the critical capabilities for computing. From not just the core microprocessing capabilities but things like graphics which allows us now to control performance but power across all system requirements. So we can take performance up when we need it, and we can take power down when we don't need performance."

Intel promised 10x graphics performance in 2007.

On top of this, Otellini showed off a few goodies such as gesture controlled interaction with a PC system and even Wi-Di (wireless display technology), something that should become big in very short order. To wrap things up a Gaming Demo and a Intel Home demo for their respective segments, showing off the Sandy Bridge muscle

A final note. Sandy Bridge will be shipping "in very high volume by early 2011", according to Otellini. He also pointed out that Ivy Bridge silicon has come off the production line already and there are working 22nm chips around. However, Intel is aiming at late 2011 for the launch of Ivy Bridge.

The CEO bid farewell while leaving the door open for Dadi Perlmutter to step up and wow the crowd.