Otellini takes a bow out of Sandy Breeches

At Intel’s pre-CES press show the words on the lips of Otellini and his friends were, of course, Sandy Bridge. There was a mad dash and a spiralling, incomprehensible queue for the Intel keynote where if you were lucky, you made it in to the Venetian’s Marco Polo suite. Some were left outside. We weren’t – we parked our keyster on an Intel – Reserved mat and sat quite comfortably.

Music blared out and jazz vocals told the many journalists in the room to “have a heart”. The apologetic Otellini took to the stage amidst the clicking of camera shutters and claps. 2010 was Intel’s best year by far. It’s a “fantastic time for the company, and the industry” he said. Over a million PCs shipped every day according to reports and that means handsome profits and lots of opportunity to fit in an intel chip or a million.

“As we go into 2011 it’s even more exciting,” Otellini said with a backdrop of integrated devices – smart TV, netbooks, a tablet with the Meego logo and cars. “The integration of the microprocessor and the internet into a series of devices is changing them and changing the world. And the prospect for Intel and the industry growth in the newly connected environment is unprecedented.”

“What you’re seeing us do is start to build ecosystems around new devices, televisions, cars, energy management systems, digital signs and so many more new categories.”

Indeed Intel is working closely with Microsoft to bring netbooks to the fore and Google to make sure smart TV is the Next Big Thing – a connected screen in every home. Of course, Intel is helping out with the Chrome OS too.

Otellini said he wouldn’t talk about servers before briefly talking about servers. Servers are still where the megabucks are, with Intel’s Xeon powered offerings making sure it is the largest, and fastest growing big business in the company.

Otellini remembered when, 20 years ago, Andy Grove said that PCs are very Darwinian. They evolve to meet needs of consumers and businesses. It is impressive that Sandy Bridge, which Intel has been working on for four years, manages to predict accurately what the average consumer is after. Intel thinks it’ll be a hit and the reviews have certainly been positive so far. According to Otellini, it will bring in $125 billion of revenue and account for a third of Intel’s dosh.

The charming be-hatted Wooly er Mooly Eden took to the stage. He said that there are one million PCs shipped every day – but now, increasingly, the consumer directs the change. In 2000 the drive for buying patterns was dictated mostly by the enterprise, with the consumer figure at 29 percent. Now it’s 66 percent, whereas the enterprise influences only 34 percent. So, says Eden, “the consumer is king.”

“When you speak to enterprise you speak to the brain, when you speak to the consumer you speak to the heart,” according to Eden. And the main question is – is a product desirable, useful, interesting, and do people want it? The answer to all of those questions, the propaganda says, is yes.

Mooly showed off figures from a consumer electronic holiday wishlist. A laptop has been the most desirable item for three years running, while the number two spot differed.

We won’t go into the Sandy Bridge details as we’ve got a review and another few are on the way, more in depth. But from the live benchmarking it’s impressive stuff indeed. Not least a demonstration of facial recognition – a British Intel bloke stood in front of a webcam and moved his face around while a spooky rendering of Eden reacted exactly the same, in real time, on screen.

“The only thing it can’t replicate is my accent. You can’t, you’ve got a funny British accent, not a cute Israeli / Californian one like me.”

Intel also claims the ‘Bridge outperforms most discrete graphics.

Showing off, Eden took out a plate full of transistors and said to the audience: this is more than what’s in the human brain, your brain. Surely it can’t be too long until we get a chip as smart as a bumblebee now, can it? Mooly?