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THE FIRST SMARTPHONE based on Intel's Medfield chip is now shipping, but Intel already has big plans for the next-generation of handsets based on its 22nm architecture.
The Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Beijing kicked off today with keynotes from Sean Maloney, who now heads up Intel China, and Kirk Skaugen, who heads Intel's client platform group.
Sean Maloney, who seems to have fully recovered after he was hospitalised last year due to a serious stroke, used his keynote to talk up mobile devices and the accompanying infrastructure.
Maloney showed off Lenovo's K800 smartphone that Intel unveiled at CES in January. The difference between then and now is that the device is actually shipping. It is based on the 32nm Medfield system-on-chip (SoC), but during the keynote Maloney announced a successor that will be based on the upcoming SoC using 22nm FinFET technology.
Maloney also outlined Intel's plans for virtual base stations, as well as mobile technology use in China. China has the largest growth potential for both smartphones and laptops, according to Maloney.
Finally Maloney announced some interesting research initiatives where Intel China will work together with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Municipal Government of Beijing to create a standards based system for interfacing all kinds of connected objects.
This research initiative is rather interesting, as the Academy of Sciences is forging ahead and developing its own, competing processors based on a MIPS instruction set with the ability to emulate Intel's x86 architecture. And the Municipal Government of Beijing is working on building a fab to manufacture the aforementioned processors.
Also at IDF Beijing on Wednesday, Kirk Skaugen announced Intel's Small Business Advantage (SBA) programme. The initiative is squarely aimed at the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market where there is usually little or no support staff for IT functions.
SBA will comprise both hardware and software and enable automatic updates and remotely administered clients where the support, if needed, can be outsourced. The SMB initiative that blends hardware and software is unique to Intel and stems from its acquisition of McAfee.
Skaugen also announced joint product development with Lenovo, which is hardly surprising considering that Lenovo sells the most laptops in China. But it should be noted that Lenovo is also selling smartphones based on ARM chips and is planning on developing servers for the Chinese market based on the MIPS chips that are being developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. µ