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Intel plans for digital planet

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IDF Fall '04 Intel has called on its developer community to recognise that it's designing for a digital planet now, and urged developers to think differently in approaching both established and emerging markets.

In his keynote address at the Intel Developers Forum in San Francisco, Intel President Paul Otellini revealed little detail about the company's product plans, focusing instead on what he says will be the main trends driving the market: communications, convergence, and the spread of technology into emerging markets.

According to Otellini, growth in the communications market has already eclipsed the dotcom boom; he predicted that 2004 would see the computer industry in its best shape since the 90s. Alongside this, device convergence - in particular the transformation of the phone into a data device - has created a whole new industry. "What we are seeing now is the surge after the bubble", he said.

Another important growth area will be the "next three billion users"; the new markets that are emerging. By 2010, Asian users will account for 37 per cent of the connected population. Tapping into this market will be the key to growth, according to Otellini.

"We are seeding markets for products," he said. "We're educating teachers to think about integrating technology into the curriculum, for example."

Intel's selling prices are roughly comparable whichever country it sells in, but Otellini acknowledged that price point is an issue in some of the newer markets. This will ensure that desktops continue to outsell notebooks globally, doing so until notebooks can be priced competitively with their larger cousins.

In the more established markets, he said that there is a shift away from looking to the bare MHz and GHz figures to get a guide to a device's performance. Form factor, security, wireless technology and manageability are increasingly important to users, and require a shift in attitude from Intel and its partners. ®

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