Intel talks crystal balls

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LONDON, UK - Up and coming semiconductor maker, Intel, whipped out its crystal balls last week in a bid to tell us what we'll be buying in ten years' time.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> 

Quite a few of these wonderments bear more than a passing resemblance to the stuff Old Mother Chipton was predicting ten years ago, so they're obviously very much a work in progress - more realism in visual computing, personal internet devices, 3D worlds, etc. 

"Predicting the future of information technology especially on a ten year time scale, can be a perilous business," Intel technical marketing manager Steve Cutler told Electronics WeeklyBut amongst the rather nebulous marketing concepts - anyone remember how NURBS were going to speed up internet access for everyone ten years ago? - were a couple of promising items.

Cutler predicted that new portable devices with ten times more battery life would require a parsimonious 300mV to operate. He also reckons that silicon photonics channels will be used inside - and outside - PCs and talked up the performance benefits of sharing virtualised memory between the CPU and the GPU to 'deliver top performance'. 

Malware, said Cutler, will be beaten by hardware-based techniques that 'protect at the deepest level'. And TVs are fast-approaching the point where, if they grow any larger, they will need larger rooms to house them, meaning that they must offer more facilities rather than simply adding more pixels.


One of the more ghastly predictions was that companies like Amazon will develop a virtual shopping experience similar to Second Life, where couch potatoes can wander down virtual aisles without getting off their butts.


"One of the defining characteristics of IT is a rate of change that is so fast it is unmatched in any other area of human endeavor - both today and historically. Yet it's fair to say that the next decade is set to drive even more far-reaching and potentially radical changes," added Mystic Steve.