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Power saving for phones – Intel's way

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The problem facing Intel's attempt to move into the smartphone market is that Intel is notorious for throwing power at processor chips - electric power, that is - to make them fast. Intel has hit back with an "optimisation kit" for phones and PDAs.

The new kits have been under test before launch, says Intel. "Results from software vendors using the kits in early trials have shown performance improvements anywhere from 50 percent for a mobile gaming vendor to 20 times better for a fingerprint recognition application. Meanwhile, other companies including a videoconferencing software maker experienced a 25 percent increase in battery life."

Specifically, they aim to help wireless application developers to increase performance and reduce power consumption of software for mobile phones and PDAs using processors based on the Intel XScale technology. XScale is a derivative of the ARM chip, which most phone makers use, but Intel has till now had a small proportion of that market.

"The goal of these kits is simple: Enable the industry to make the cell phone or PDA as exciting as possible," said Tony Sica, vice president and director of group marketing for Intel's Wireless Communications and Computing Group.

"The emergence of advanced data networks provide a unique opportunity for the software development community to bring its creativity and innovations into a new and interesting segment. The combination of these new optimisation kits and Intel XScale technology based processors provide a vehicle with the power and performance necessary to help bring convincing applications and services to these segments."

The kits include a Pocket PC* PDA based on an Intel PXA255 processor for downloading and testing the applications, as well as number of software tools and a support CD used for fine-tuning the applications.

Software tools include the Intel VTune Performance Analyzer software and the Intel C++ Compiler for Microsoft eMbedded* Visual C++. The support CD contains optimisation documentation, software development kits, sample code and links to Intel optimisation resources. The kits are available now at Intel's web shop for $999.

Future kits will include additional handheld and wireless handset devices using the latest Intel XScale technology based processors and operating system support, including Microsoft Smartphone, Linux and Palm OS.

The kits are the latest in a series of activities focused on improving Intel's chances in the wireless applications world.

Intel has opened a number of optimisation labs around the world to provide developers with technical tools, development support and engineering resources. Intel has labs in Chandler, AZ; Stockholm, Sweden; and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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