Intel Provides Sneak Peek On Future Technology

By Doug Olenick On Apr 19 2010 - 4:01am




NEW YORK — Intel Labs gave a peek inside its workshop earlier this month, here, showing off examples of several upcoming products based on Intel processors and technologies.

Among the first devices expected to work their way into the consumer electronics space is Light Peak. Light Peak is an optical-based input/output interface first introduced last year at Intel’s developer’s forum and shown again at International CES by Intel CEO Paul Otellini. It is designed to replace USB, HDMI and a host of other connectivity technologies, said Jeff Demain, an Intel Labs researcher.

Light Peak has a 10GBps data-transfer speed with the potential to hit 100GBps with further developments, and it is backward compatible with USB 2.0 and 3.0. It also does not have a length limitation like other cables and can send a signal 100 meters before a repeater is needed, he said.

Demain expects the first computers featuring Light Peak to be on the market in the second half of the year.

The goal is to eliminate the need for several varieties of cables just to get a home theater or home network up and running. Integrating the technology to this level in the home will take many years and Demain expects Light Peak to co-exist with USB, HDMI and other technologies for quite some time.

For the car, Intel has worked with OEM supplier Visteon to develop a new in-car computer system dubbed The Connected Car. It features a constant Web connection via a 3G or 4G service, allowing for a steady data stream and the ability to access traffic and entertainment content on the go, said Michael Eichbrecht, a developer with Visteon.

The Connected Car is based on an Intel Atom processor and will be ready for aftermarket sales sometime next year, said Intel’s Susan Yost, who is with the company’s embedded and communications group. Factory-installed versions of The Connected Car will become available sometime after 2013, said Eichbrecht.

Eichbrecht said Visteon generally does not get involved in direct retail sales so the aftermarket version would likely come from another vendor. He was not sure of the cost, but described the price as in the same range as a premium car audio installation, adding it will have to be done by a retailer.

Intel also displayed its Intelligent Home Energy Management Concept. This is a small desktop-computer-type device that does more than simply monitor a home’s energy use, said Ed Hill of Intel’s embedded and communications group.

When working in conjunction with smart or Web-enabled appliances it can tell a home owner how much energy is being used, said Hill. However, since it is connected to the Web, it can go out and gather additional information ranging from an appliance’s Energy Star rating to finding a more energy-efficient product as a replacement.

Intel is working with utility companies on the device, and Hill said products could be available in the next year or two either from a utility or as a retail product.

Intel also believes third party applications will be developed which will make the device even more useful. Hill envisioned a program that could tell a person where the cheapest gasoline was for sale in his neighborhood.

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