Intel, Yahoo unveil joint effort to link Web, TV

The Widget Channel will allow users to access the Internet through their TVs.

When Intel lays out its vision for the future, the chipmaker most often focuses on new uses for its Atom processor, greater mobility and, of course, plans to develop more and more chips.

At the Intel Developer Forum Wednesday, company officials focused their discussions on the low-end Atom processor line, mobile devices and on its plans for television.

Intel announced that it is teaming up with Yahoo to jointly provide a way to tie television to the Internet. What Intel is calling the Widget Channel will allow users to access the Internet through their TVs.

Yahoo's Widget Engine, an application platform that enables user to interact with a TV, and Intel's new Media Processor CE3100, which had been dubbed Canmore, power the Widget Channel. Yahoo will also provides Yahoo-branded widgets based on its Internet services, like Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Sports to the system.

"TV will fundamentally change how we talk about, imagine and experience the Internet," said Eric Kim, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Digital Home Group, in a keynote address Wednesday. "No longer just a passive experience unless the viewer wants it that way, Intel and Yahoo are proposing a way where the TV and Internet are as interactive, and seamless, as possible."

On the processor side of business, Intel executives were busy talking about the upcoming Intel Core 2 Extreme processor - a quad-core chip for laptops. While the processors have four cores, they only use 45 watts of power, according to David Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobility Group.

Dan Olds, principal analyst with the Gabriel Consulting Group, said putting some focus on the mobile market is a smart move for Intel.

"Highly portable notebooks are hot right now," he noted. "Companies that sell these notebooks can get more money for them, just as Intel can get more money for the chips that fuel them. Higher margins mean more and better business."

Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Ultra Mobility Group, told the audience at his keynote address on Wednesday that the company is taking sharp aim at the growing Mobile Internet Device (MID) market.

The first silicon already has been produced for company's next-generation platform for the MID market - codenamed Moorestown. Moorestown is slated to be released in 2009 or 2010.

Mobile Internet devices are small, "pocketable" products that fall in between small laptops and smart phones in size and capability.

Both Clarion and Panasonic announced during Chandrasekher's keynote that they have MIDs, based on the Atom processor, that are slated to hit the market soon. Clarion's MiND, which is short for Mobile Internet Navigation Device, is designed to have real-time, location-based services. And Panasonic's Toughbook CF-U1 will be a ruggedized ultra-mobile PC, while the company's Mobile Clinical Assistant is being designed for health care professionals.

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