Intel plans wireless, digital home R&D centre in Korea

Intel plans to open a research and development centre in South Korea before the end of the year.

The centre would concentrate on development of technologies for the digital home and wireless communications, areas in which South Korea is considered one of the leading nations. Among the projects slated to be carried out at the centre are Ultra Wideband (UWB) wireless technology and Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMax) last-mile wireless broadband, Intel said.

South Korea has one of the highest broadband penetration rates in the world. At the end of July, there were 11.2 million broadband connections in a country of 48 million people.

The wide availability of broadband connections has spawned a host of services and applications, including video-on-demand and video streaming services as well as interactive and network gaming. The country’s two largest electronics companies, Samsung and LG, are also looking towards the connected home and have put a small number of networked appliances on sale, including a refrigerator.

The country also holds a leading position in wireless infrastructure with a cellular telephone service supporting data transmission of up to 2.4Mbps already in commercial service and a growing network of wireless LAN hotspots.

Plans for the research and development centre were disclosed as chief executive officer of Intel, Craig Barrett, visited South Korea on the final leg of a four-nation Asian tour.

Barrett began in Taipei, where he opened a research and development lab that will work on technology for communications devices and product reference designs.

He was also in Penang, Malaysia, where he announced Intel would spend $US40 million to construct a design and development centre.

In Chengdu, China, Barrett signed a memorandum of understanding for Intel to construct a test and assembly facility there.

In Beijing, Intel said it would establish a joint research centre with local computer maker Legend.