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Look Who's Talking At CES

Intel and Dell, both of whose CEOs are keynote speakers, intend major home- and entertainment-oriented announcements at next week's Consumer Electronics Show.

If you had any doubt that the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has morphed into the biggest, commercial IT conference of the year, that doubt could be erased this week as Intel and Dell are expected to make major announcements at the once-consumer-focused show.

Intel, Santa Clara, Calif., is expected to unveil its long-awaited Napa mobile processing platform and Yonah processor. The announcement was expected to be part of another revelation by Intel—that it would make a major shift in branding away from its longtime hallmarks of “Intel Inside” and flagship Pentium processor. Details of the shift are expected to emerge at the show. Intel will be represented by several executives, including CEO Paul Otellini, who also is scheduled to deliver a keynote speech.

And Dell Chairman Michael Dell, a last-minute addition to the keynote speaker list, is also expected to launch a new effort by the Round Rock, Texas-based PC maker into the consumer space and home, where it has struggled.

According to industry executives who have been briefed, Intel is slated to unveil its next-generation Centrino platform as early as Wednesday. The announcement will usher in an era of dual-core mobile processing amid a conference of gadgets and gizmos, highlighted by two new dual-core mobile chips and the 945GM chipset.

An Intel spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny the Yonah and Napa announcements, but she repeated past assertions that the chip and platform would launch sometime in January.

Dell and Intel are not the only vendors jumping on the CES bandwagon. Lenovo, Toshiba, Fujitsu, ViewSonic and Hewlett-Packard all will have a significant presence. And once again, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates will kick things off with a “preshow” keynote address.

“CES is going to be an important time for all of the companies to show off their consumer- and commercial-based systems to customers,” said James Huang, product manager at Amax Information Technologies. The Fremont, Calif.-based system builder will be showing off dual-core desktops at a CES event sponsored by Advanced Micro Devices. “You don’t have Comdex anymore,” he said.

Despite the fact that CES was built for the consumer-electronics space, more IT and channel companies have been opening up to the opportunities. “Right now, we do have a lot of corporate customers who are looking to upgrade their systems,” Huang said. “That’s why we were quite excited and honored to showcase our system with AMD.”

Also at the show, D-Link, Fountain Valley, Calif., is set to unveil its MediaLounge Wireless HD Media Player, and Buffalo Technology, Austin, Texas, plans to spotlight new high-speed wireless networking offerings, including the 802.11g AirStation Turbo G High Power Wireless Smart Router and AirStation MIMO Wireless Cable/DSL Router.

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