Intel has finally released the specifics for its long-awaited Viiv entertainment platform and the company’s latest-generation mobile platform, code-named Napa.
A list of launch partners for Viiv and Napa are not yet available, but both platforms will be available during the first quarter for inclusion in third-party computers. Intel CEO Paul Otellini is scheduled to make a keynote address on Jan. 5, 2006, at International CES.
Intel is touting Viiv as a home entertainment platform that will greatly improve the experience consumers now receive using Windows Media Center Edition. Viiv’s primary intention is to bring a CE-like experience to applications like downloadable TV programming, movies and being able to distribute this content around a home a via a network. The Viiv platform will work with and connect televisions, computers and handheld devices.
“You can do a lot of this today, but it’s not easy,” said Bill Leszinske, Intel’s digital home marketing and planning director. “Viiv will make it easer and Viiv is ensuring a great experience especially with a remote,” he added.
Brian Fravel, Intel’s desktop marketing manager, said starting in the first quarter Viiv chipsets will be included in higher-end MCE PCs using Pentium D, Intel Extreme and Yonah mobile processor. Viiv-enabled systems will feature instant on/off, like a TV, come in a variety of traditional computer and CE formats and have the power to do several tasks at once.
Intel has already announced several hardware and content partners, but Leszinske said additional top tier CE vendors will announce support for Viiv at CES. In addition, legacy CE products will be able to connect into a Viiv-based system through new network capable set top boxes. Intel will test all and label them Viiv-certified, meaning that they will function with similar devices.
The upcoming Napa mobile dual-core processors, shipping during the first quarter, will feature a variety of power savings and performance enhancements over the current Sonoma platform processors. Intel reported that Napa will deliver a 68 percent increase in performance while consuming 28 percent less battery power.
According to CNet US Intel will also release Yonah, a dual-core notebook chip based on a new design, will be released in January, said Keith Kresslin, director of mobile platforms marketing at Intel. It is expected to provide around 68 percent better performance than current Intel notebook chips, which sport one processing core. Computers with Yonah will also be better than PCs today at running many applications at once, he said.
“You will be able to do a Skype voice call while playing video games,” Kresslin said. Laptops and small desktop computers featuring Yonah are also scheduled to come out at the same time as the chip. The chipmaker hopes to reverse its recent fortunes with the plans for next year. In 2004, the company tripped over manufacturing glitches and canceled products. In 2005, the product and production problems vanished, but Intel continued to lose market share to rival Advanced Micro Devices.
Yonah-based notebooks are expected to consume only 3 watts of power on average, less than the 4.2-watt average seen on current cutting-edge laptops. The power savings partly result from the chip’s ability to complete tasks faster. However, Yonah also comes with new circuitry designed to cut power consumption.
Many Yonah notebooks will be smaller than their contemporary counterparts, Intel executives said. (Kresslin, however, did not say what the thermal ceiling, or TDP, is for Yonah, which could add some bulk and impact power consumption on some Yonah systems.)