Intel Corp has been showing off its forthcoming consumer desktop bundle, called Viiv, with several new OEM partner announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Several online heavy hitters, including AOL, Google and Yahoo, also announced ways they would exploit the new platforms.
The CES expo is always a splashy affair, but the push this year by Intel into the consumer market underscores how important this market has become to the world’s largest chipmaker.
Intel Viiv and Advanced Micro Devices Inc’s own consumer brand Live!, are bundles of hardware and software geared toward multimedia applications and new consumer hardware, such as all-in-one hybrid TVs and book-sized PCs.
PCs based on Viiv would support high-def video and surround sound, would turn on and off with a button and are envisioned to have TV-like remote controls, Intel said. In other words, Viiv would enable OEMs to build entertainment machines, or regular computers with beefed-up sound and graphics.
Throughout his keynote, Intel chief executive Paul Otellini said simplified access to entertainment and multimedia applications was the ethos behind Viiv.
And later this year, Intel will add features to Viiv that will simplify the set-up of a home network and the ability to transfer digital content from the PC to other devices, according to the company.
Many consumer tech players have rallied around the concept. However, no word yet from Apple Computer Inc on whether Viiv is the plan for future Macs.
Google Inc recently said it was working on a Google Video service, which would be a way for users to search, manage and consume vast amounts of online video, on Viiv-powered machines.
America Online Inc demonstrated at CES a new video service that would work on Viiv machines the gives users free access to its music and movie content on a TV by using a remote control. AOL, the Internet unit owned by Time Warner Inc, said it would work on tailoring more of its music, movie, TV and other content to the Viiv platform.
Yahoo Inc had a similar announcement. In coming months it would launch customized versions of its Go TV, Photos, Music and Channel services as Viiv-verified PC and mobile applications, Yahoo said.
Otellini also announced several Viiv commitments from entertainment companies, including DirecTV, NBC Universal, Turner Broadcasting, ESPN, Televisa and Eros. All of this is expected to help attract consumers to new, home-entertainment computers.
During his star-studded keynote, in which Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman, and other showbiz luminaries joined him onstage, Otellini also talked up Intel’s upcoming mobile dual-core processor, dubbed Core Duo.
The Centrino Duo mobile platform promises better digital entertainment performance and battery life for laptops.
Michael Dell, chairman of Dell Inc, demonstrated onstage a new 20-inch machine running Centrino Duo. Dell called it a portable desktop.
Otellini also touted various features that make Centrino Duo mobile the ultimate on-the-go entertainment system. Duo-powered systems would come in various sizes, from thin-and-light to 17-inch-plus widescreens, and have much of the same entertainment features as Viiv-powered desktops, he said.
At CES, Gateway said it would begin shipping next month various new notebooks powered by Centrino Duo, including an M685-E machine for the enterprise market and an NX860 model for consumer. The company said it was working on a Viiv desktop also.
Fujitsu announced at the show its LifeBook N6410 and E8100 notebooks running Centrino Duo chips, which would be available in the first half of the year. The companies did not provide retail prices for the devices.
Lenovo, the Chinese company that bought IBM’s PC business, announced two new ThinkPad notebooks based on Intel Centrino Duo. Lenovo said the machines would run 11-hours straight without recharging, when loaded with an optional second battery.
The T60 and X60 models, which are slated to ship in February, would be priced at $2,049 and $1,899, respectively.
The Viiv bundle includes Intel’s new 945/955/975 Express Chipset family and PRO/1000 PM or PRO/100 VE/VM network connection. The mobile 945 Express chipset line is also used in the Centrino Duo bundle, which includes the new PRO/Wireless 3945ABG network connection.