Intel opens app store, unveils Atom chips

Chip maker kicks off second day of conference by rolling out two new processors

SAN FRANCISCO -- Intel kicked off the second day of its developers conference by officially launching its app store and rolling out new Atom processors.

The chip maker's AppUp center, which went into beta early this year, went live today, Renee James, an Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Software and Services Group, said during the morning's first keynote at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco today.

The AppUp center is a consumer-centric store that focuses on free and paid apps for entertainment, productivity, networking and gaming. The apps are optimized for netbooks in terms of screen size and mobility, according to Intel.

Intel also launched a new Atom chip that was formerly known as Groveland. Doug Davis, vice president of Intel's architecture group, took the wraps off the Atom CE4200, which is designed for smart TVs.

After that, Davis also unveiled the Intel Processor E600, which was formerly known as Tunnel Creek. The E600 is designed to be embedded in things like smart grids and in-car entertainment and information systems.

"The Internet has become a rich environment for us to work and play in but it's only the beginning in terms of hand-held devices, consumer electronics and embedded applications," said Davis. "Atom opens up a whole new universe of applications.... Picture treadmills that connect to the Internet so you can watch that TV show you missed last week, or it can stream your favorite Internet radio station."

Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said Intel is making some smart decisions by moving further into the small device and embedded markets. The chips announced today may not be revolutionary, but they do mark advances in the market, according to Olds.

"This is an important market for Intel," he added. "Although the prices per chip are very low, the volumes are absolutely huge. If Intel can, through pricing and performance, position their processors as standards for set top boxes alone, the sales, in terms of units, would be massive. Intel doesn't want to see this market go to ARM processors or another design, so they're going all out with their Atom processor to land design wins."

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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