What else can I say but, "whew!" Your humble correspondent has been beaten into the ground by the whirlwind that was Intel Developer Forum 2011 Day 1, which turned out to be a nonstop tour of announcements, pronouncements and, inevitably, hype.

Matthew Weinberger

September 14, 2011

3 Min Read
Intel Developer Forum Day 1: Ultrabook, McAfee and Android

What else can I say but, “whew!” Your humble correspondent has been beaten into the ground by the whirlwind that was Intel Developer Forum 2011 Day 1, which turned out to be a nonstop tour of announcements, pronouncements and, inevitably, hype.

The headlining news of the day: CEO Paul Otellini laid out some details on the Intel Ultrabook strategy, McAfee announced a new product to defend against rootkits, and Google’s Andy Rubin made a surprise appearance to announce that current and future versions of Android would be Intel-optimized. Here’s the scoop:

Ultrabooks and Moore’s Law

Otellini’s short-but-sweet keynote largely revolved around Moore’s Law in one capacity or another: Basically, he said Intel is uniquely positioned to continue developing solutions that lets computing become more “mobile, secure and seamless.” A major part of that, Otellini said, is power consumption and efficiency, and he had an Intel researcher come on stage to demonstrate a noncommercial prototype of a solar-powered Microsoft Windows PC.

But in more concrete terms, Otellini trotted out details on Intel’s Ultrabook strategy, saying it’s the “most satisfying, complete computing solution” the company has come up with yet. It has long battery life, it’s secure and it’s going to sell for “mainstream” prices, he said.

Far more interestingly, though, was Otellini’s vision for the future of the super-thin, super-light, Macbook Air-aping Ultrabook. By 2012, they’ll include the supposedly low-power, high-performance “Ivy Bridge” 22-nm processor, further boosting performance. And looking ahead to 2013, Otellini said Intel has big plans for a chip code-named Haswell, with an eye toward reducing power to the point where an Ultrabook could have up to 10 days of connected standby time.

McAfee DeepSAFE

As for that McAfee announcement, the Intel security provider subsidiary demonstrated its new DeepSAFE technology, designed to combat against rootkits and malware known and unknown.

Basically, McAfee DeepSAFE is an Intel hardware-assisted security platform that prevents against “stealthy advanced persistent threats and malware” that penetrate closer to home than the traditional firewall is designed to address. Intel is billing it as “security beyond the operating system,” and it’s safe to expect details sooner than later.

Google Android and Intel x86

The final important announcement I want to touch on was Google VP of Mobile Andy Rubin’s announcement that all current and future versions of the Google Android smartphone and tablet operating system will be optimized for Intel’s x86 architecture going forward.

Building on a story from earlier this week, this announcement means that Google Android gets interoperability with both ARM and x86 chips, while Intel gets a major toehold in the mobile market, where it’s been lagging. I was able to follow up with members of Intel’s mobile team later and confirmed that OEMs and ODMs are hard at work on Intel-based Android devices.

Some other stray observations from the day:

  • Intel is positioning the Google announcement as a catch-up in mobile, a space where it hasn’t made a serious splash. But the general sentiment was that in a generation or two, it could leapfrog rival AMD on mobile.

  • The Cisco Cius also figured in that keynote, showcased as an example what Intel and its partners are bringing to the table.

  • On a similar note, Intel demoed its Intel Teleport Extender technology, which enables sharing of information between trusted mobile devices and the desktop via a secure tunnel.

  • The Intel-mentored Open Data Center Alliance and the Facebook-led Open Compute Project announced a joining of forces to come up with cloud computing standard for systems integrators and cloud service providers. Expect more details about that (and other Intel cloud insights) on my home turf of Talkin’ Cloud soon.

  • Intel boasted cloud computing has led demand for Xeon 5600 processors to balloon 20-fold from the previous generation — in other words, the data center market is exploding.

I’ll be continuing to file insights and deeper reports all this week, so keep watching The VAR Guy for more details.

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