Intel talks about a Wireless Future

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Justin Rattner at IDF 2010

Day Three of the Intel Developers Conference brought about my favorite part of the conference from when I was a regular attendee at the show- the day when the research and development people get to strut their stuff.

Today was no different as Justin Rattner, Intel’s chief technology officer took that stage and made this prediction about where things are going in the labs. “In the future, if it computes, it connects.” More importantly he was talking about doing so wirelessly.

There was plenty at the show that was interesting from Rattner, but the two items that stand out here and will help mobile users the most was his showing of a few specific areas that are under development from the company.

The first was an all digital Wi-Fi radio that is integrated into to a chip that has other digital technologies. Calling it a “Moore’s Law Radio” it shows that going forward Intel will be able to scale the chip as it shrinks it process geometry, enabling the company to make more chips at a lower price. In the past when chips featured a mix of analog and digital they did not scale efficiently and so were much more costly to develop and manufacture.

In addition the combination of additional digital technologies on top of the Wi-Fi should mean that developers of tablets and smartphones will be able to create full featured radios that take up less space and use less power, enabling the creation of smaller connected devices.


The second area was on the development of the next generation wireless standard that is called Wireless Gigabit or WiGig, a technology that is gaining traction from a growing number of industry players. It has the ability to deliver as much as 5 gigabits per second. The effort is seeking to consolidate a many of the proprietary 60 GHz developments into one that is accepted as an industry standard.

Intel showed a WiGig docking station that eliminated the needs for most wires and portends a future when we can have devices such as wireless displays and docking stations, easing the clutter on desktops and in offices.

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