New Intel ventures dabble in telecom, wireless

From alliances with heavyweight partners on telecommunication and wireless ventures to the announcement of "wireless Internet-on-a-chip," number-one chip maker Intel continued to roll out news from its Intel Developer Forum in Amsterdam Thursday.

Stacking up its chips in the telecom sector, Intel announced both that it will be introducing a family of carrier-grade server products for the telecom industry by the end of the year, and that it has formed an alliance with computer hardware maker Hewlett-Packard (HP), in which HP has agreed to build an Intel chip-based, carrier-grade server for voice and data networks.

The thrust of Intel's telecom strategy is based upon the chip maker's new "Intel Architecture" server product family, which it says will offer high-performance and reliability at a lower cost than proprietary products, and will be available from a variety of manufacturers. The new line is aimed at original equipment and telecom manufacturers, and will initially include Intel Pentium III processor-based systems, but is set to adopt Intel Xeon and Itanium processor families in the future. The company said it also eventually hopes to include processors, chipsets and boards with its 1U (1.75 in.)- and 2U-sized dual processor server lines based on the Pentium III processor.

These systems will power wireless and communication network infrastructures used by telecom companies, telecom service providers and large corporations, Intel said.

The company has also made an alliance in the wireless realm, teaming up with British Telecommunications (BT) PLC's BTexact Technologies and Wireless businesses to develop applications and services for next-generation mobile Internet devices. Their first initiative will be to focus on how mobile executives can create electronic working groups, the companies said. The development agreement came as Intel unveiled a new chip Thursday that combines cell phone and handheld computer components, promising wireless Internet-on-a-chip.

In other news, Intel and HP also announced that the two companies plan to open a joint telecommunication and Internet data center in Grenoble, France, and will earmark equity investment funds for the telecom sector and Compact PCI, a next-generation blade computing systems standard. The companies said that the data center will allow independent telecom software vendors, service providers and their corporate clients a grounds to test and fine-tune technologies.

The Intel Developer Forum is a global program that offers developers technical information and input for product creation. Earlier this year, the company held forums in San Jose, California, Tokyo, Taipei and Beijing.

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