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Intel Overclocks To Go Beyond The PC

As the future dims for PCs and servers, Intel is setting its sights on developing processors for smartphones and consumer electronics.
Indeed, Intel at IDF launched a developer program offering a framework for creating and selling software for Atom-powered netbooks now, with plans to extend the program to handheld devices and smartphones in the future.

While developing hardware for smartphones, Intel also plans to take its open-source operating system Moblin to handhelds. Even though Intel will support any OS that a vendor wants to run on its chips, the company believes that many device manufacturers will want hardware and software in a single package.

"Intel really needs to present this as a platform, and tell OEMs, 'Here, go knock yourself out,'" Spooner said.

In consumer electronics, Intel launched at IDF its first Atom-based system-on-chip for Internet-enabled TVs and set-top boxes. Executives introduced the CE4100 as the foundation on which to run future applications that merge television with the Web. Adobe, CBS and Cisco supported Intel's efforts at IDF.

Intel's hunger for the smartphone and HDTV markets make sense, given their growth even in the economic recession. In the second quarter of this year, smartphone shipments worldwide grew by more than 13%, compared to the same period a year ago, according to Canalys.

Meanwhile, global shipments of LCD TVs, the market-leading HDTV, rose by more than 14% in the second quarter from the previous quarter, according to iSuppli.

Given Intel's determination to extend its reach way beyond the PC, time is running out for competitors such as ARM to build up their defenses. "It leaves ARM at least a year to deliver better capabilities itself," Spooner said. "Clearly, Intel is targeting ARM."

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on smartphone security. Download the report here (registration required).