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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

April 18, 2007 at 3:52 PM

Intel misses a big opportunity

I’m a little disappointed in the announcements Intel made in China this week about Ultra-Mobile PCs, the handheld computing platform it developed with Microsoft under the code-name Origami.

Not because Intel decided to optimize the platform for Linux. That’s Microsoft’s battle to fight.

Besides, the Linux challenge could push the folks in Redmond to put more effort into the category.

Intel said UMPC builders want the flexiblity of Linux. Why doesn’t Microsoft offer them a modular version of Vista, or even a portable edition just for handhelds, instead of insisting the devices use the “full” operating system?

Apple’s not putting a full version of its operating system on the iPhone. That device is the direction Microsoft and Intel were heading with Origami, and it’s probably going to use the same “McCaslin” mobile Intel processors the chipmaker was showing off at its developer conference in Beijing.

Nor was I disappointed in the actual news from Intel.

It previewed amazing mobile processors coming in early 2008. They’re smaller than a penny, yet their heat output is 10 times less than a circa 2006 processor. They’re also four times more energy efficient, and their standby battery life is five times longer.

That means you’ll probably be carrying a full power computer in your pocket, instead of an iPod or a smartphone, within a few years.

But I’m getting off track. Where Intel missed an opportunity was in the code names used for this hardware.

Intel calls the little chipsets Poulsbo (although Senior Vice President Anand Chandrasekher mispronounced it “Pools-bo” in his Beijing keynote).

Yet it decided to call Poulsbo’s processor Silverthorne, the name of a little town in Colorado. Around here at least, everyone knows Poulsbo is right next to Silverdale.

Comments | More in | Topics: Gadgets & products

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