CHIPMAKER Intel has proclaimed that it has morphed into a fundamental computing company.
That surprising statement came from Chipzilla's CEO, Paul Otellini, who was speaking at an investor event. It was presumably an effort to spur more interest in the firm, which in the past has done pretty well fabricating bits of silicon. Otellini waxed lyrical about how Intel has made a remarkable transformation since the turn of the century which, according to him, has turned it into a "different kind of company."
While everyone was left to wonder what on earth Otellini was talking about, he clearly wasn't so keen to completely discard his firm's well established revenue stream. Otellini said that he expected the firm to ship 4 billion "cores" in 2010 and the chip market to grow at rates above 20 per cent for the next five years.
Otellini then turned his thoughts to televisions, saying that consumers are about to be subjected to a "TV revolution" that will be the "biggest change since the move to colour". Otellini was referring to smart televisions, units similar to those displayed at this year's CES which allowed users to download applications such as Skype and Netflix. Intel is looking to plug 30 per cent of its chip output into embedded systems, hoping to build on the success of its Atom processors.
Realising that Otellini was in a talkative mood, one hack decided to quiz him about Larrabee, the on-die GPU that Chipzilla supposedly shelved last year. Otellini admitted that the firm was premature in going public with Larrabee and called the move "a mistake". He also confirmed that the project has not stopped. Perhaps not surprisingly, he talked up Larrabee's prospects, saying it has "high promise".
To round things off, Otellini said that he believes tablet computers won't cannabolise sales of laptops. He labelled tablets as "consumption devices", the same term often used by the firm to describe netbooks.
It seems that Otellini's claim that Intel is not a chipmaker anymore was merely a ruse to interest investors and show that Intel doesn't rely on a single line of products to generate revenue. That was revealed by the statement being followed by rosy projections for chip market growth.
As for Larrabee, Otellini not only said that the project isn't dead but mentioned that the number of engineers working on the project hasn't decreased since the firm's announcement last December. Given that Chipzilla is keen to become a big player in the world of embedded processors, it seems apparent that Intel is unlikely to halt Larrabee development.
But whether the project will produce a viable discrete graphics competitor for Intel to put up against Nvidia and AMD is another matter entirely. µ
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