IDF Spring 2008 is shaping up to be heavily mobility centric, with MIDs, Netbooks and Nettops taking center stage. Day Zero has revealed a number of new research efforts and directions that Intel is heading in the small form factor and mobility areas and we had a chance to get into their technology showcase before the crowd really starts to pour in tomorrow. Most of the technologies Intel is researching in the mobility sector now is focused on what Intel calls CSLL, the new mobility buzz-acronym that spells Carry Small, Live Large. CSLL is a vision of what mobile devices will be in the future (if Intel had its way and succeeded in world domination of course).
Carry Small focuses on cramming in more features into a device, improving performance, energy efficiency, and form factor. The concept here really isn't anything new. If you look at mobile devices today, the industry is already going the way of convergence. Take the Nokia N95 and Apple iPhone for instance. Of course, when Intel looks into it, it is not the consumer front, but the technology back end as to how to get this done. Mostly, Carry Small will be realized through PoC (Platform on a Chip) research and designs.
To this end, the research into Radio technology already has results to show for. Radio research is aimed at making radios smaller, more power efficient, smarter and more compatible with multiple wireless standards. In a briefing on multi-radio technology, Krishnamurthy Soumyanath, Intel Director Communications Technology Lab, revealed a few technology firsts such as the first reconfigurable analog to digital converter (ADC) for 802.11n applications, first 65m CMOS power amplifier for multi-radio and the first mm-wave CMOS synthesizer with a <3kHz frequency resolution.
The Live Large portion is more ambitious and interesting. Intel is focusing on technologies that make your device more aware of its environment and can use this environment to improve user experience. Some of these technologies aren't new, such as location based services, which is similar to geotagging. Some require too much processing power to implement in a mobile device as of now, such as context awareness. In a demo, Intel showed a sensor (camera) that could pick out among a busy crowd the person that was actually waving at the camera. There was also a demo on object recognition as well. However, you need about 4TFlops of computing power for the algorithm.
Still, there are a few technologies that have made it into a workable phase, which was displayed at the IDF Tech Showcase.