Intel unveils software push, hints at mobile plans

Intel said it would look to broaden the reach of its Atom-based products to possibly include cell phones, and also unveiled a new version of its Linux-based Moblin platform that might be used for phones. The company made the announcements in San Francisco at at the Intel Developer Forum, an Intel-hosted conference, and gave indications that following its partnership with Nokia, it intends to reach further into the mobile space.

The chip maker said that it would try and latch onto the idea that Apple popularized with the iPhone and its App Store, and hopes that developers will create apps for Atom-based netbooks, but also eventually for cell phones and other consumer electronics. Intel doesn't plan to get into the application storefront business, but said it will provide a technological framework for Atom customers who want to do so.

"We're flushing out the software side," Intel CEO Paul Otellini told reporters at the conference, according to Reuters. "In these new spaces, in CE (consumer electronics) and in handhelds in particular, and to some extent in netbooks, the Intel side of the world is lacking the viral apps development that you see, say, on the iPhone."

Intel also gave developers a closer look at Moblin 2.1, a new version of its Linux-based software that was initially targeted at netbooks. The company did not specifically indicate that it was going to use the software for smartphones, but did show features such as notifications for missed calls, as well as integration of social networking sites, news updates and a calendar, similar to what Motorola is doing with its MotoBLUR user interface.

Intel plans to release a successor to the Atom platform, codenamed "Moorestown," next year, which is targeted at Internet-connected devices and handsets. Otellini said Moblin will be ready in time for when Moorestown begins shipping next year. Intel inked an agreement in June with Nokia to partner on a new class of mobile devices, but the companies were cryptic about what specific kinds of devices they would develop together.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Reuters article
- see this Engagdet post
- see this Wired article

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