Intel pushes itself beyond the chip

CEO Paul Otellini talks to developers at IDF about 22nm chips, bigger solutions

SAN FRANCISCO -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini kicked off the company's annual IDF conference today by announcing that Intel is on track to ship a 22-nanometer processor in 2011.

The company's first microprocessor designed for a 22nm build is already moving through an Intel fabrication plant, according to Otellini, who gave the first keynote speech at the Intel Developer Forum today. He added that 22nm chips are on track to be delivered in 2011.

While Otellini provided a demo of Google TV, a project in which Intel is a partner, and talked about the company's upcoming new chip architecture, code-named Sandy Bridge, much of his keynote focused on the company rather than the technology that comes out of it.

"In previous years, I've talked about how computing is changing. Today, I'm going to change my focus to how Intel is changing and where we're going to go," Otellini said. "At Intel, our vision is to create a continuum [with] consistency and interoperability between devices."

And much of that change means that the world's biggest chip company is branching out from its core proficiency as a chip maker.

"We are in the process of changing how we develop and deliver solutions, Otellini said. "Ten years ago, we focused on delivering great chips. We still do that, but we're trying to deliver a full computing solution stack. This will mean shorter time to market and lower development costs for our customers. We'll deliver and develop more complete hardware and software solutions than ever in the past."

Intel showed that it's branching out from being just a chip company when it announced last month that it would buy security software company McAfee for $7.68 billion and Infineon's wireless chip unit for $1.4 billion. With these moves, Intel is not only getting into the security business, but is also enhancing its ability to make a significant advance in mobile computing.

Shane Rau, an analyst at market research firm IDC, noted in an interview with Computerworld last month that Intel is looking to move beyond the chip. The company, he said, has bigger plans in the works. According to Rau, Intel wants to provide more of the "stack" for mobile devices -- the processor, security software and the operating system.

And that's exactly what Otellini said he's planning.

He said there are three pillars of computing: energy efficiency, Internet connectivity and security.

"Wouldn't it be great if we could give you a trusted machine that could stop a zero-day attack?" Otellini said. "That's the fundamental reason we acquired McAfee."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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