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Barrett Says ‘Digital Home’ Upgrades Your Life

In far-ranging keynote address that featured everything from a Cirque du Soleil-style stage show to guest appearances by Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, from actor/Sundance head Robert Redford to eBay’s CEO Meg Whitman, Intel’s CEO Craig Barrett offered his take on how ever-increasing computer power and ubiquitous access to broadband wireless connectivity is transforming all aspects of life, at International CES, here.

Continuing on Intel’s presentation last year, Barrett discussed how the Entertainment PC and was becoming the home’s digital hub where content was created, stored and distributed to various CE- and PC-based devices in all rooms of the home. This year he also focused on how emerging wireless technologies such as WiMax are creating a “digital sky” where content can be made available across even greater geographic distances

Steven Tyler was on hand to help Intel introduce a new software program called UmixIt, which allows users to mix, remix and isolate instrumental tracks on an enhanced CD. Redford discussed how digital technology was revolutionizing his industry, and how it is empowering independent artists create, tell and distribute their stories in unprecedented ways.

The most pervasive theme, however, was having ubiquitous access to content. “In the digital home…we all want to experience our digital content in the way we want to experience it. We don’t want to be stuck in one room,” Barrett said. “We want on-demand capability, regardless of where you are in the home, regardless of where the content is.” Barrett called the entertainment PC “the bedrock of the digital home, with the capability to do all different things. It’s the gateway to content.”

In his address, Barrett said that while his company can create the silicon, it takes a broad coalition of industry and government entities to realize the dream of delivering entertainment and personal content anywhere, at anytime. Intel’s development dual-core processors, which can handle separate functions at the same time, along with hyper-threading capability, is enhancing the abilities of the entertainment PC, and is being delivered in limited supplies this year, and in volume in 2006. The technologies, for example, will help games achieve ever-greater realism, and provide them with a “10-foot” experience of playing games from the living room instead of having to sit two feet away from the game console or PC.

Barrett emphasized that entertainment wasn’t the only application, however: education and health sciences were also very much on Intel’s radar. During the presentation, there were various demonstrations, including an entertainment PC that sported a spherical 3D projection of an interface that was operated by hand motions instead of a remote control, which Barrett called “passé.”

Barrett was also joined onstage by eBay’s Whitman, who discussed the problem of “E-Waste,” and the launch of an initiative to help recycle or properly dispose of CE and PC products. Few details were provided, as a press conference about the initiative was scheduled for later in the day.