Intel Focuses on Mobile

Carl Weinschenk
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Politically-Inclined Mobile Users Warned to Guard Privacy

It seems like it finally is spring in the Northeast (perhaps it will be in Denver soon as well) and it’s also finally Friday. So here are some of the important stories from the past week in the worlds of telecom and IT.

Intel’s New Mobile Man

Many sites, including Bloomberg Businessweek, reported that Intel named Brian Krzanich to replace retiring CEO Paul Otellini. The story positions the company as struggling in the mobile sector and suggests that one of the reasons Krzanich got his job is because it is an area in which he excels.

Here is the core of what Krzanich must address:

Founded in 1968, Intel has mastered a strategy of using cutting-edge facilities to manufacture chips that are faster and more powerful than those of rivals. The company has tended to devote the most advanced plants and equipment to semiconductors for servers and personal computers -- not mobile devices, said Doug Freedman, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets. A change in tack may not happen until next year, Freedman said.

It’s unclear from this fairly technical feature what role Krzanich played, if any, in the development of the Haswell system on a chip (SoC). This story at Ars Technica goes into significant detail, but the important thing in the context of Intel’s fate is that the SoC is aimed specifically at the sector Krzanich says he will address:

The Haswell CPU core is a step forward in performance (as is to be expected from Intel) but more importantly, it is a huge step down in power. This SoC should be viable for high-end tablets. Variants of Haswell are aimed as low as 10W, and future improvements may reduce this further.

Google Glass and Private Information

One of the highest-profile new gadgets of the year – and perhaps the decade – is Google Glass, which marries augmented reality with eyewear. Indeed, Google is not alone in developing this type of product.


Clearly, there should be a national conversation about the implications of this technology on personal information and security. As Jared Newman at Time points out, there are great number of issues. He suggests that some of these are overblown, but others are more subtle and yet to be addressed. The bottom line is that these devices are coming, and coming quickly. Personal privacy and related issues must be explored.

For instance, suppose the technology for such a device – from Google or another vendor – became so well integrated that it was not readily apparent that it was being worn. What are the evidentiary rules governing a conversation recorded by the glasses? I am not a lawyer and there may be no issue. But it is possible that there are.

More Data, Less Voice – and Fewer SMS Messages

The CTIA reported on the nature of the traffic that moved over the networks of its member carriers and service providers. The results in two areas were not surprising: There were more data and fewer voice calls.

More specifically, the CTIA – according to the report in Network World -- said that there was 69 percent more data traffic in 2012 than 2011 and that voice calls were roughly even. SMS messages declined from 2.3 trillion to 2.19 trillion. The most telling statistic of all is that the number of subscriber connections increased by 3.3 percent to 326.4 million, which, the story points out, is more than the number of people in the U.S.

Oracle Expands Toolkit

One of the panaceas for developers is to not have to reinvent the wheel for Android, iOS and whatever other mobile operating systems a carrier or enterprise wants to support. There have been stabs at creating such cross-functional frameworks. Along the same lines, HTML5 promises to pack enough under the hood to make it possible to use it as a development environment, regardless of the end user device’s OS.

This week, Oracle said that its latest mobile development toolkit, Mobile Release 1.1 of the Oracle Application Development Framework, “extends support to newer versions of operating systems, including iOS and Android.” It adds device-native push notifications and full file attachment viewing, according to the story at ZDNet. The Oracle move is significant in its own right, and shows that the push toward write-once, use-everywhere approaches is growing.

Tesla’s Home Is Safe

And, finally, there is good news about a genius from the turn of the last century. Nicola Tesla was an early scientific pioneer. He was a sometime competitor and sometime collaborator with Thomas Alva Edison. Many experts say that Tesla was the greater mind but Edison the far better businessman and marketer. Indeed, some of Tesla’s patents still are classified.

Tesla was a pioneer of wireless, among other things. He built a lab on Long Island, NY. He hoped to send massive amounts of electricity wirelessly for great distances from the facility, which is in the town of Shoreham. The plan failed and the lab abandoned. The facility became the property of the Agfa Corp. and was thought to be close to destruction.

The good news, according to Red Orbit, is that the facility will be saved:

Newsday reports Friends of Science East, Inc. partnered with online comic Matthew Inman of TheOatmeal.com in August 2012 to host an online crowdfunding project on Indiegogo.com. They raised $1.37 million towards the purchase price of the Wardenclyffe site. The campaign reached the $1 million mark in just over a week, with the help of 33,000 contributors from 108 countries.

The goal is to make the site into a learning center and museum.



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