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Intel’s Barrett Has Unwired World Vision

Intel CEO Craig Barrett wants to unclutter the world, starting with the morass of wires found behind everyone’s PC.

With “Unwire” as the theme for Barrett’s keynote address during International CES, here, earlier this month, he described a world Intel intends to help build where all PC, entertainment and home appliances are continuously and seamlessly in contact. Not only will this make for more efficient transfer of data both in and out of the home, but also it is what consumers want, he said.

“People want to take their rich content out of their home. Intel wants to unwire the consumer and this in turn will inspire a wave of innovation from PC and CE companies,” he said, adding that going purely wireless is the next logical evolutionary step for these technologies.

This wire-free environment is not on the immediate horizon, he said, but with the convergence of computer and communication products finally happening, the concept is poised to become a reality.

Playing a large part for Intel is its just-introduced Centrino mobile processor. It is optimized for an 802.11b wireless world, Barrett said. A notebook line will be the first sporting the new processor, which is the first Intel chip ever built from the ground up as a mobile device.

The Centrino laptops and the wireless products to follow will breathe new life into the PC. Barrett said the home computer, despite flat sales, was far from dead. “I don’t see anything at the center of the network, not the PC or the TV, but the PC’s importance is being boosted, especially by broadband,” he said. “The PC is becoming unwired. Wireless technologies are being integrated into the PC, which will offer the user more freedom and flexibility.”

Intel is projecting 100 million broadband users in the next few years.