Intel gets personal about wireless architecture

Intel has introduced the Personal Internet Client Architecture, a set of components and software aimed at accelerating the development of next-generation Internet applications for Internet-ready mobile telephones and handheld wireless devices.

Daniel Francisco, a spokesman for Intel, said the architecture incorporates microprocessors built on Intel's XScale micro-architecture design, announced in August. It also includes the wireless chip set developed by DSP Communications, which Intel acquired late last year; Intel flash memory; a DSP (digital signal processor) that the company is developing with Analog Devices; and software.

The architecture is intended to help vendors bring next-generation applications to market more quickly.

The Intel Personal Internet Client Architecture has been designed to keep pace with the advent of next-generation wireless devices and with the notion that hardware and software must be allowed to develop in parallel, according to Ron Smith, vice president and general manager of Intel's wireless communications and computing group.

The architecture will allow applications to be written to reprogrammable microprocessors, which Smith said is an improvement over current handheld devices' reliance on microcontrollers and DSPs that are designed to manage the device's communications signal path.

Data-rich applications and Internet content, including streaming audio and video, put intense demands on the data processing capabilities of handheld devices, making reprogrammable microprocessors more appropriate for the job, Francisco said.

A preliminary specification detailing the architecture has been distributed to key wireless companies, and a final specification and software developers kit will be available to the industry by the end of the year, Intel said.

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