| the long wait: A computer shop in China (Reuters)
San Francisco, Sept. 9 (Reuters): Intel Corp. kicks off a conference for hardware and software engineers on Monday in Silicon Valley at a twice-yearly gathering hosted by the world’s largest chipmaker to spur technology using its microprocessors.
Intel is expected to release more details on the first processor for laptop computers it has designed from scratch, code-named Banias, unveil faster Pentium 4 chips and demonstrate the next version of its Itanium processor designed for heavy-duty computing, analysts said.
Called the Intel Developer Forum, the conference in recent years has gone global, and is held around the year in Taipei, Moscow, Tokyo and Shenzhen, China.
An Intel spokesman said the company expects about 4,000 attendees — flat with last spring's developer forum — and said that the vast majority were engineers.
The conference comes as the personal computer industry, which represents Intel's major market, remains mired in the doldrums, following a slack 2001 when worldwide shipments of PCs declined year-over-year.
In the second quarter, according to market researcher International Data Corp., PC shipments were little changed from the year-ago period and fell a greater-than-expected 7.8 per cent from the first quarter.
“Intel will show us how they will make their processors bigger and faster and the transistors smaller and more numerous,” said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at market research firm Insight 64. “They'll do their best to rally the troops and get this industry restarted.”
Intel will also sound a theme it has been pushing for more than a year, that convergence of computing and communications.
Intel is trying to boost revenue from outside its mainstay PC business by moving into the market for communications chips and helping to push the development of advanced handheld computers and wireless devices.
“Every computing device will ultimately be a communications device” and vice versa, an Intel spokesman said. "PCs will communicate even more than they do today and cell phones will compute even more than they do today.”
Intel is expected to reveal more details about the Banias chip, which is more than just a microprocessor, Brookwood said, adding that Intel will likely talk up wireless connectivity using the 802.11 standard, which allows for high-speed wireless connections to the Internet and networks.
“Banias is really almost a whole approach to system design,” Brookwood said. “It includes chipsets that optimize power usage, and new wireless adapters that are far more power sensitive.”