New York - Intel is taking the reigns to guide the growth of wireless networking and Internet connectivity through a series of internal programs and by collaborating with other firms to make wireless technology widely available.
Intel's announcement yesterday that it has formed a new company called Cometa with AT&T and IBM with the goal of building a nationwide wireless broadband network by 2004 is just the latest step Intel has taken to ensure its next generation of mobile computer processors are launched into a growing wireless market. Cometa is part an Intel strategy that would make wireless Internet connectivity operate in the same manner as cell phones with consumers able to access the web through local providers.
'We want to encourage roaming agreements between carriers,' said Donald McDonald, director of marketing for Intel's mobile platform group.
The first stage of Cometa's plan will start next year when it begings setting up wireless connectivity in 50 market across the country. AT&T will handle the network infrastructure and IBM much of the back office operation and local site work.
Another on-going programs include investing $150 million to help create wireless Internet access zones, or hot spots, across the nation in airports, hotels and public areas like New York City's Bryant Park, said McDonald. This is a preliminary measure until widespread access is ready. Through these and upcoming actions Intel expects the number of public hot spots to increase from 15,000 today to 300,000 by 2006.
This work is being done to set the stage for the launch of Intel's next generation mobile processor, code-named Banias in mid 2003. Banias will represent an entirely new class of processor for Intel placed above the Pentium 4 brand, McDonald said. The processor is about 40 percent faster than the top end Pentium 4 mobile chip, but 46 percent smaller and much more energy efficient.