Intel's usual troops missing from IDF stage

For Tuesday morning’s keynote presentation at IDF-SF 2013, there were none of the usual Intel standard bearers. New CEO, Brian Krzanich, did a major part of the presentation along with Renée James, Intel’s President.

Before the presentation started, one of the old guard, Mooly Eden was spotted standing in the aisle way wearing his signature cap.

Also sitting in the audience’s VIP seats was former Intel CTO Justin Rattner. Rattner retired in June of this year and we missed his imitations of TV’s Mister Wizard.

CEO Krzanich gave his overview of the “new and improved” Intel. Krzanich laid out Intel’s vision and described how Intel is refocusing – away from its traditional CPU centric design philosophy to a system centric solution based around SoCs (system-on-a-chip) and broader integration.

Intel’s foundry capabilities were touted as reducing the die size to 20nm which is now shipping, with 14nm in the works. This will allow wearable computers. The obvious ones are smart watches – Intel’s engineering sample is many generations behind the competition in looks. The not-so-obvious areas they’ll address will be in the healthcare industry.

Krzanich said: “Innovation and industry transformation are happening more rapidly than ever before, which play to Intel’s strengths. We have the manufacturing technology leadership and architectural tools in place to push further into lower power regimes. We plan to shape and lead in all areas of computing.”

He continued: “Intel plans to lead in every segment of technology from the traditional to the emerging. Intel will continue with its data center revolution/evolution by increasing the computing power and lowering the kilowatts used in the rack space.” Krzanich stated that “the traditional PC is in the process of reinventing itself” with most notably tablets and 2-in-1 PC platforms.

The CEO said that Intel is introducing this week “Bay Trail,” Intel’s first 22nm SoC for mobile devices. “Bay Trail” is based on the company’s new low-power, high-performance Silvermont microarchitecture, which will power a range of Android and Windows designs.

[Remember Intel’s commitment to Wimax?-Ed]

Krzanich showed the first Intel phone with the 22nm SoC with Intel data LTE and voice 3G. He claimed that “by next year you will see LTE data and LTE voice in the same phone”. Then, he showed a demonstration of LTE Advanced. LTE advanced will have carrier activation switching from 30Mbps (Megabits per second) to 70 Mbps. He said the San Diego group is working on this. Could this be Qualcomm?

Krzanich announced the Intel Quark processor family. The new lower-power products will extend Intel’s reach to growing segments from the industrial Internet-of-Things to wearable computing. It is designed for applications where lower power and size take priority over higher performance.

The tablet marketplace is a key ingredient for the atom processor family. “The Hallway tablet systems price point will go below $100 by Q4 2013,” Krzanich said. 

However, the ARM and MIPS based 7-inch tablets have been there for over a year with good quality graphics, wi-fi, and reasonable gaming performance. Intel has some hurdles to jump over to gain a bigger chunk of that marketplace.

Renée James, Intel’s President, talked about the company’s involvement in the healthcare world and wearables.

Referring to health care as it relates to technology, she gave an example: “one person’s complete genomic data is approximately 1 PB, or 25 filing cabinets of information”.

“Genomic data cost for one person was in the hundred thousand dollar range less than four years ago,” James said. “Soon it will be in the $1000 range, which makes it plausible for use as a cancer fighting tool.”

James introduced Eric, an Intel employee who for over 20 years has been fighting cancer.

Eric came up and told his story about having his genomic data sequenced and taking that data to his doctors. About a month after they had the data they had a meeting with all his doctors including the East Coast doctors on Skype.

Eric said by having his genomic data, the doctors figured out that over the 20 year period of time, 90 percent of those drugs they had given for his cancer treatment could not work for him.

The doctors created a new set of drugs specifically typed for his genome, and in less than 90 days, he was completely cancer free and has remained cancer free. Understandably, Eric received resounding round of applause from the audience.

When one can see directly how technology impacts one person’s life in the extreme, we are all glad to be in this industry.