Intel’s Communications Bet

WSJ reports on Intel’s 7-year scenario for technology growth:

Intel President Paul Otellini predicted that 1.5 billion personal computers by 2010 will have wired or wireless broadband Internet connections. By the same year, the industry will have shipped 2.5 billion portable phones with computing performance beyond today’s fastest personal computers, he predicted.

Mr. Otellini said the industry already has blown past an earlier target, set four years ago by Chief Executive Officer Craig Barrett, of one billion cellular handsets and one billion “connected” computers, though few boast broadband speed.

Communications has become an Intel mantra, in part because the company already accounts for most of the microprocessor chips that serve as brains in desktop and portable computers. The most astonishing growth, the company says, is in the wireless-networking technology known as Wi-Fi — the centerpiece of Centrino, a bundle of chips for laptop computers that Intel has been marketing heavily.

While public “hotspots” offering Wi-Fi service are expected to double to 100,000 in 2004, sales of devices called access points to offer such capabilities for consumers and businesses should grow to 20 million from roughly 10 million during the same period, analysts estimate. That “disconnect” in projected growth rates, Mr. Otellini said, points to a startling spread of Wi-Fi in homes and offices.
Growth in advanced phones, he argued, also will drive phone companies to install massive numbers of server systems for sending messages and images to those devices.


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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.