PC renewal will boost chip demand, says Intel CEO

Intel is counting on Microsoft pulling support or older operating systems and legacy PC renewal to drive demand for new PC...

Intel is counting on Microsoft pulling support or older operating systems and legacy PC renewal to drive demand for new PC technology.

During his keynote presentation at the Intel Developer's Forum in San Jose, chief executive officer Craig Barrett discussed how legacy PC renewal would allow newer, Intel-based technologies to be adopted by business.

Intel has estimated that there are as many as 180 million old PCs in existence running unsupported operating systems software. Barrett said user upgrades were being driven by, "a whole series of events including non-support of older operating systems by Microsoft and inefficiencies within older PCs".

The theme of this year's conference was computing and communications convergence. Barrett said Intel was developing new ways to integrate more functions onto silicon chips. He added that this integration "will bring benefits to the end user in terms of performance, power consumption and cost through economies of scale".

One example of integration is the Manitoba chip announced at the 3 GSM World Congress in Cannes. Designed for mobile phones, the chip integrates an Xscale processor, 4 MB memory and a radio onto a single chip.

Intel has also been conducting research into silicon photonics, where fibreoptical and silicon technology are available on a single chip. In what is believed to be a world first, Intel showed how such a chip could be used to transmit data over a 5km fibreoptic cable using a single silicon chip to perform both the optical and electronic aspects of processing the data transmission. In the future, Intel believes, such technology could lower dramatically the cost of optical switching devices as manufacturing in silicon would benefit from economies of scale.

Barrett also remained upbeat about future demand for technology in both mature and emerging markets.

"The global desire for advanced technology by consumers, businesses, governments and other organisations has not slowed," he said. "The past two years have shown more clearly than ever that innovation and technology continue to move forward, even in the face of a weak economy. Businesses and governments in both mature and emerging markets worldwide are viewing technology infrastructure as critical to their competitiveness over the long run."

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