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Intel Provides Sneak Peek On Future Technology

4/19/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern

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.