Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Intel embraces Android at IDF in San Francisco

Intel CEO Paul Otellini welcomes Google's Andy Rubin onstage at IDF
The Intel Developer Forum (IDF) kicked off this morning in San Francisco, starting with the keynote presentation by CEO Paul Otellini. Otellini talked about a "computing continuum" where the required attributes are "Engaging, Consistent,and Protected". On the last point, Otellini described a "partnership" with McAfee, though the company became a wholly-owned subsidiary in February. This mirrors Intel's approach to the Wind River acquisition, retaining the brand identity of the purchased company.

An executive of McAfee pointed out the challenge of "Day Zero" trojan viruses (i.e. those for which there is no history), which can install root kits that become deeply embedded at the kernel level of an operating system. A traditional software-only approach to virus protection often fails to catch such threats to PC security. The Intel and McAfee collaboration will be based on a combination of hardware and software, using behavioral monitoring to block trojans in a new, more effective solution which the companies have dubbed “DeepSafe”
Intel demonstrated this Medfield processor based tablet,
running the Honeycomb OS, in a "computing continuum" demo at IDF.
To demonstrate a computing continuum, Intel showed sharing of content from a Android-based smartphone and tablet, with images appearing on a "family wall". The PC is still at the center of the application connected framework, which Intel said will ship in devices such as a Toshiba Ultrabook PC by the holidays, enabling a consistent connected user experience.

It is apparent that Intel is backing away from the Meego operating system, which they announced in a collaboration with Nokia just about one and a half years ago. With Nokia now moving to Microsoft Windows 7 mobile operating system, Meego is about to become another orphan OS. Nevertheless, Intel has two Meego-related sessions scheduled for later today and tomorrow at IDF.

Sorted by this column Session IDTitleTypeSpeaker(s)Day/Time/Room
SFTS006MeeGo* Technical Deep-Dive Session for DevelopersLecture Session
Technical Marketing Engineer,
Intel Corporation
Technical Marketing Engineer Manager,
Intel Corporation
4:25 pm
SFTS011Overview and Market Opportunities forMeeGo* DevelopersLecture Session
OS Tablet Segment Manager,
Intel Corporation
Director, ISPD Product Marketing,
Intel Corporation
3:20 pm

In a surprise, Otellini disclosed that the smartphone that was used in the demo is Medfield-based, and is a working prototype which is being made available now to development partners. Otellini said:
We have learned a lot of things about smartphone silicon and device design. We want to make the Intel architecture the platform of choice.
Finally, Otellini announced a collaboration with Google, bringing VP of Android Engineering Andy Rubin onstage to declare that all future versions of Android will be optimized (no doubt non-exclusively) for the Intel architecture. With ARM-based processors continuing to dominate the mobile space, it will be interesting to see if this belated shift to Android bears fruit in the near future.

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