"In a very simple sense, 400 million of anything times $40 or $50 of silicon in each one gets you up into the $20bn business opportunity each year," said Barrett. "We just think its a great growth opportunity."
Intel recently launched a new processor aimed at the handheld computer market. The XScale processor is a successor to the company's StrongArm processor and aims to get Intel a larger share of the handheld and mobile market. It has already been well received by PDA makers, many of which have said they plan to use it in future products, and Intel is currently working on a version aimed at mobile phones.
"One of the trends you see in that industry (that makes handheld products) is the movement away from what I would call proprietary solutions to more open architecture, open interface modular building block solutions. We basically make modular building blocks so we'd like to see the industry more in that direction," he said.
Mobile phone manufacturers may already be starting to come around to Barrett's way of thinking. Japan's leading handset makers, NEC and Matsushita (Panasonic), announced plans to build two processors into future handsets. The architecture would support a range of different processors, allowing manufacturers to choose between competing products.
Barrett refused to be tempted into making rash predictions for the future. "I think it would be foolish to forecast growth because no one knows what the economy is going to do," he said.