Intel: Mobility needs better graphics, less power

Intel: Mobility needs better graphics, less power

With the launch of Centrino notebook technology and Manitoba cell-phone processor behind the company, Intel, yesterday, started talking at the Fall Intel Developer Forum about the next generation of both of those product lines.

Centrino, a package of chips including a processor, chipset and wireless chip would be followed by a next-generation mobile platform known as Sonoma, vice-president and co-general manager of Intel's mobile platforms group, Anand Chandrasekher, said.

Sonoma will be released in the second half of 2004 with a dual-band wireless chip and a new chipset, code-named Alviso. The platform will use a future Pentium M processor, but Intel declined to specify if it would be Dothan, the company's 90-nanometer version of the Pentium M, or a chip beyond that release.

Dothan would be released later this year with a 2MB cache, Chandrasekher said.

The new Sonoma platform would also include new audio technology known as Azalia, which improves the sound quality of music, movies, and games on notebooks, he said.

Notebook designers who don't want to wait for Sonoma could start shipping systems with the new 855GME chipset as of yesterday.

The chipset featured Intel Display Power Saving Technology, which allowed the system to dim the screen's backlight while maintaining the image brightness and quality on the screen, Chandrasekher said.

Cell-phone manufacturers will be able to use Bulverde, Intel's code name for the next generation of XScale technology, in phones starting in 2004.

The new chips would incorporate three new technologies that improve graphics performance and reduce battery life, senior vice-president and general manager of Intel's wireless communications and computing group, Ron Smith, said.

Intel will take the multimedia extensions (MMX) technology that improved graphics performance in its Pentium 4 processors and bring that to Bulverde processors.

Smith demonstrated the technology on a prototype Bulverde device running a video game with graphics similar to that of console or PC games.

The new processors will incorporate Wireless SpeedStep, a mobile technology that varies the power consumed by a chip depending on the requirements of a particular task.

This was a common technique used by notebook processors, and would help extend battery life in cell phones and other handhelds, Smith said.

For cell phones with cameras, Intel developed Quick Capture technology for upcoming processors.

This would allow phones to take up to four-megapixel images and capture moving video, Smith said.

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