Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Google struggles to give away $10 million

On its tenth anniversary in 2008, Google promised $10 million to the best five ideas for using technology to improve the world, through Project 10x100 -- a neat play on words (10 to the 100th power expresses the number "googol," which is a one followed by one hundred zeroes).

Google's intentions were good, of course -- $10 million spent the right way could have a real impact on these problems, which range from building better banking tools to a real-time, user-reported news service.

However, the company's follow-through leaves much to be desired. Google announced this cash prize contest in September 2008 and closed public voting on 16 finalists chosen from over 150,000 ideas in October 2009. Over eight months later, the company has yet to announce the winners.

Meanwhile, e-mails sent to Project 10 to the 100th's Gmail account are bouncing, indicating that Google has deleted the address. And the company's press department has yet to respond to our inquiries about the project.

"We'll announce the winning big ideas in the near future," reads a notice on the project's website, which lists "©2009 Google" at the bottom. According to Daniel Meyerowitz, who says his idea for mapping ongoing genocides and providing early warning of new ones is a finalist in the competition, Google has not said a peep about this competition in nine months -- despite having apologized for delays as early as March 2009.

"While genocide and other pressing problems relentlessly advance, it would seem that Project 10^100 does not," Meyerowitz told "Years behind schedule. Nine months since announcing their most recent delay. How hard can it be to give away ten million bucks? Harder than Google can handle, apparently."

Google, which reported revenue of $6.77 billion for the first quarter of this year, could practically consider $10 million to be a rounding error, so money isn't the problem. And the company already did the hard work of combining the overt 150,000 submitted ideas, many of which were duplicates or complementary, into 16 "theme" ideas, on which the public has already voted.

Assuming the project is still ongoing, Google will select an organization already involved with the issue to receive a share of the cash with the goal of solving the problem. So all that remains for the company to do at this point is to announce the five winning ideas and the organizations that will receive the money to implement them.

"An inspirational effort which began in the best Google tradition seems to be mired in the worst Google lapses," said Meyerowitz, who brought this situation to our attention. "When can we expect the final projects to be funded? Or how about just a blog update?"

Google's not talking -- not yet, anyway. But apparently, it's the process of choosing the right organizations to address these issues that threatens to turn Google's 10th birthday celebration into a 12th birthday surprise.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Is 'cloud computing' the future of video games?

Playing high-profile video games quickly from portable devices such as your iPad might get easier after this week's Electronic Entertainment Expo.

While the E-3 "game changer" tag has been reserved largely for innovations such as 3-D and motion-sensor systems, several companies hope using cloud computing to store games will be the real shift by letting gamers play high-end titles anywhere, on almost any machine.

If fully realized, they say, cloud gaming could be a console killer.

Gaming company OnLive announced Tuesday that it will make 23 popular console games, including "Assassin's Creed II," "Batman: Arkham Asylum" and "Mass Effect 2," available through an online subscription service.

"Today we're taking the first step toward a future where video game content is increasingly free from the restrictions of device and location, while showcasing the ability to instantly play the latest, most advanced games at the touch of a button," said OnLive founder and CEO Steve Perlman.

Cloud gaming uses rapid data compression to let users store their games "in the cloud" -- on Web servers -- and then pull them down and play them using a regular Web browser. It's the same concept as storing photos on a site such as Flickr or music videos on a MySpace page.

The user doesn't actually have those files on any one particular computer but can access them from anywhere.

OnLive has partnerships with gaming companies such as Electronic Arts, UbiSoft and Warner Bros. Interactive and announced several new ones, including Sega, on Tuesday. More titles were expected to be available as they are released.

OnLive's service, which launches Thursday, will offer free subscription for a year. OnLive has not announced what fees will be beyond that, but a spokesperson said Wednesday they will be "much less" than $15 a month.

OnLive isn't the only one in the cloud-gaming business though. Rival Gaikai announced this year it had raised $10 million for a streaming game service that will let users sample games before buying them.

"[W]e host the games, we run them, we worry about hardware and software updates, and we stream them to you," Gaikai said on its website. "The only thing you need is a browser and an internet connection."

Also at E3, Sony announced PlayStation Plus, an online subscription service that expands its PlayStation Network.

Launching on June 29, the pay service will offer gamers a chance to play exclusive and preview versions of top games, ramping up Sony's bid to compete with the Xbox Live network from Microsoft.

A 90-day subscription to the service will cost $17.99 and will go for about $50 a year.

And billionaire Sir Richard Branson made the space even more interesting Tuesday with the rollout of a revamped Virgin Games -- an online home for competitive console gamers.

The subscription site will host top-line games that gamers would typically buy for themselves.

"With Virgin Gaming, we're offering members more than just a place to compete. We're offering them the best, safest and most secure online experience with the fresh, fun approach Virgin is known for," said Rob Segal, CEO of Virgin Gaming.

In his typical, bigger-than-life style, Branson pulled up at E3 in an armored car purportedly carrying $1 million -- representing the total payout for a series of cash prizes Virgin will pay in competitive tournaments hosted on the site.

The cloud-computing concept had insiders talking at E3 -- which started Tuesday and runs through Thursday. But not everyone in the tech community is sold just yet.

Some question whether gamers, who presumably already have at least one gaming console, will pony up again for the ability to play their favorite titles from the cloud.

"Even if it costs less to rent or play a game -- and it probably will ... OnLive will have a tough time competing with actual hardware for all but the most dedicated gamers," Jared Newman wrote on the Technologizer blog.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Notes from Nintendo's E3 2010 Developer Roundtable

An E3 tradition has developed over the past few years: An annual Nintendo developers roundtable, a 90-minute informal talk by Shigeru Miyamoto and his associates about the company's biggest titles and announcements for the year. This year was no different, and a select group of media watched as Miyamoto talked abut the Nintendo 3DS and some of its select titles, as well as the latest Zelda, Skyward Sword, along with Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma and 3DS lineup producer Hideki Kondo.

Miyamoto on Ocarina of Time 3D:
"I wanted to experience vast Hyrule Field with those 3D effects. I thought it would feel like you were really there."

On Steel Diver:
"Development is moving along nicely, and in fact it's almost complete. The reason for that is that we've been making it for the past six years! When we first showed Nintendo DS, we showed this game as a demo. It seemed ideally suited to a touch interface, since it's about a submarine and submarines are slow. Now, I'm the kind of gamer that gets frustrated easily, so sometimes it's nice to play a game that moves slowly and gives you precise controls."

On Star Fox:
"In shooters, it can be hard to judge the depth of your bullets. But that becomes clearer in 3D, so I wanted to work on a Star Fox game for the system. Of course, if all we were to do was take these games and port them over to 3DS, we'd just have a collection of old games. So we're talking to the developers about adding new elements."

On the 3DS hardware:
"Even something as simple as trying to jump onto a stump or hitting a question mark block can be difficult. Once you have 3D visuals to go along with a fully-rendered world, that space becomes easy to understand. Since 3DS is a portable system, everyone has the same setup, the same 3D screen. Developers can work around that set 3D spec."

Kondo on Nintendogs + Cats:
"I'd hoped to keep this game a secret until E3, but unfortunately last year Mr. Miyamoto announced last year that he had gotten a cat!

"We wanted a new kind of communication between the user and the dog. We're using the inner camera to recognize the player's face. If you look at the screen and tilt your head from side to side, the dog will recognize that and turn to look at you. If you put your face close to the screen, the dog will come closer and lick your face. It will also remember faces, so if the dog is used to playing with me, it will recognize me. But if Mr. Miyamoto plays, the dog might run away and bark at him from a distance.

"My ambition is to take the Bark Mode from Nintendogs and make it more widespread, which we've done by making it a part of the 3DS hardware itself."

Miymoto on cats:
"Cats are great, but they're kind of like girls. If they come and talk to you, that's great. But if you go and talk to them, it may not go so well. We had the Nintendogs program and put cat models in their, so we had these cats walking around, and they'd sit if you told them to, which was weird. But their tails were wagging around! So we put both in the game and came up with new ideas."

Miyamoto on Bark Mode:
Shortly after Nintendogs came out, you could walk around with the system in bark mode and exchange data with almost anyone. More recently, we've seen the same thing with Dragon Quest, where people will cluster around the 'electric towns' just waiting for new contacts to exchange data with.

"If you were to use the Internet to do this, it would be simple. But the fun of this comes in the fact that you're interacting this way in the real world."

Miyamoto on Skyward Sword:
"One of the reasons people keep coming back to the Zelda series is because the core mechanics are so good. But I think people tend to fixate on how big the game is and how many dungeons there are. One of the things we wanted to do this time around was bring it back to that core gameplay and how we can make it as engaging as possible.

"When you're first developing a game you spend a lot of time thinking about what you want it to look like. A lot of times there can be a big lag between when the graphics are complete and when the game is done. Last year we showed a piece of art from the game. At that point, most of the game was complete, but all we had to show visually was that single piece of art. In terms of development from here, we have a few more dungeons to create, and a few more bosses. But because this style of development is different than what we've done in the past, we're not sure we can finish this year."

Aonuma on Skyward Sword's story:
"The trailer we showed you this morning was Link diving off a cliff into a sea of clouds. That's a very important point in the storyline. Link is a man who was born and raised in this land above the clouds, called Skyloft. One day, an incident reveals to him that there's another land beneath the clouds. This other world is a place ruled by evil forces and is very dangerous, yet Link is forced to go into that world and has to travel between Skyloft and that other land.

"The thing that leads link into this other land is the Skyward Sword. The mysterious figure you see in that artwork was the Skyward Sword; when it's giving Link advice, it will take the form of that figure. You may have figured this out, but this is the Master Sword -- the Skyward Sword eventually becomes the Master Sword.

Aonuma on Skyward Sword's art:
"The sky is also something that's important to the game. We want to play up the sense of the sky, which is why we've implemented this art style."

Miyamoto on Skyward Sword's art:
"I really like this style. It took just one step in the approvals process. I'm a big fan of impressionism in the art world, so we've drawn on that. There's a definite [Paul] Cezanne influence.

"If we'd just used the same graphics from Twilight Princess, the game would already be done."

Aonuma on Ocarina of Time 3D:
"One of the problems that made the Water Temple difficult for everyone was putting on the heavy boots and taking them off again, and how complex the interface was. The 3DS has a touch screen, so you'll be able to change the boots and your clothes much faster this time.

"This is an important point for Skyward Shadow as well. We've put a lot of thought into switching between the sword and weapons. It's a little different from what you're used to, but once you get a feel for it you'll find it becomes easy."

Q&A notes:
On wireless functionality: The 3Ds does not include 3G functionality, but it can use open wi-fi access points to receive push data -- similar to Wii Connect 24. 3G carriers may be in the cards down the road, but it's not something we're working on now.

Miyamoto on orchestrated soundtracks: "I don't think we could do what we did with Mario Galaxy 2 and not try to match that with Zelda."

Miyamoto on Pikmin 3: "One of my concerns coming into this show was that with so many great games on display, Pikmin might be overshadowed. Rest assured we're working on it... but please don't make that the top story of the evening!"

Kondo on 3DS battery life: "We'd like to match Nintendo DSi."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Apple vs. Android: Which OS Outpaces the Other?

Apple has just reached its 10,000th native iPad application, doubling the size of the iPad App Store in just over six weeks. The milestone itself comes just two months after the release of the tablet device, though it's but a fraction of the total number of applications available for both Apple's iPad and iPhone: more than 200,000, as of Memorial Day last month.

As well, the company has started accepting contributions for iOS 4-compatible applications—the next iteration of the iPhone and iPad operating system is currently scheduled for a June 21 release, hitting devices but three days before the launch of Apple's newest product, the iPhone 4.

However, this call to arms comes with a catch: According to TechCrunch, developers of non-iOS-4 applications are allegedly experiencing longer approval times to get their products into Apple's App Store to begin with.

Elsewhere, Google's Android market has surged up to approximately 72,000 total applications, according to figures by There's been a steady increase of new applications as far back as the site records information, with 1,669 new apps hitting in July of 2009 compared to the 14,294 new applications arriving in May 2010.

According to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, speaking at this week's Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple receives more than 15,000 new application submissions each week. If accurate, Apple is generating roughly four times the amount of applications on a monthly basis over the competing Android platform.

Apple and the various Android manufacturers are shipping roughly the same amount of handheld devices, even though the sheer number of different Android-based phones on today's market trumps Apple's available iPhone offerings. According to Google's latest numbers from it's i/o conference, the company is activating approximately 100,000 new Android-based phones per day, or 9 million devices per quarter. Apple, by contrast, shipped 8.75 million iPhones last quarter.

NPD data released in early may indicated that Android has taken second-place spot behind RIM's OS in terms of smartphone operating systems used. Apple allegedly trails seven percent behind Android at 21 percent, though Jobs disagreed with the assessment in his WWDC keynote.

"There have been a lot of stats floating around, market research, studies. Some are okay, some are questionable," said Jobs, before showcasing a new report from The Neilson Company suggesting that the iPhone is actually second-place in the U.S. smartphone market

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Benchmarks: Safari 5 Shows JavaScript Boost

When Safari 5 was released Monday, Apple claimed that the "world's fastest" Web browser is now faster. Macworld Lab ran a performance test on the new Safari, and our results confirm that Safari 5 provides a boost over its predecessor--at least when it comes to the browser's JavaScript engine.

We used the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark, which focuses on Safari's Nitro JavaScript engine. Apple claims (on the Safari website) that Safari 5 is "up to 30 percent faster than Safari 4, 3 percent faster than Chrome 5.0, and over twice as fast as Firefox 3.6." Apple also uses the SunSpider test.

In our testing, Safari 5's JavaScript performance was 19.2 percent faster than Safari 4's. That's nowhere near "up to 30 percent" claimed by Apple, but there are a lot of variables that come into play affecting the results. The most important factor is the Internet connection--conditions can vary based on traffic and routing. Still, a boost of nearly 20 percent is significant.

As for the other browsers in Apple's claim: compared to Chrome 5.0, Safari 5 was 3.5 percent faster in our test. Safari 5 was well over twice as fast as FireFox 3.6. Our results actually find Safari 5 faster than what Apple claimed--again, Internet connectivity can influence test results.

Apple didn't mention Opera in its speed claims, but we tested Opera 10.53. We found that Safari 5 was 11.5 percent faster.

One thing to keep in mind is that the differences are measured in milliseconds, so you may not be able to sense a difference between Safari 4 and Safari 5.

A full review of Safari 5 is in the works and coming soon.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Inside the iPhone 4--courtesy of Steve Jobs

The iPhone 4 got a preemptive teardown on Monday courtesy of CEO Steve Jobs at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference.

Though a pre-commercial version of the iPhone 4 was notoriously taken apart by Gizmodo--and no doubt other meticulous teardowns will follow--there's nothing like an official peek inside by Jobs to set the record straight.

So, what's going on inside? Not surprisingly, one of the key goals is to pack more features and functionality into a smaller space: at 9.3mm thick, the device will be 24 percent thinner than its predecessor. And to make this point, an Apple video released Monday shows an animation of the Apple A4 chip package shrinking to accommodate a wider battery. This thin-and-wide battery motif can be seen across a number of larger Apple products, including the MacBook Air and the iPad.

And what about that A4 chip? Like the iPad, the A4 uses an ARM central processing unit, or CPU, designed by Intrinsity and manufactured by Samsung . The extra horsepower of the A4--compared with its slower cousin in the iPhone 3GS--and the accompanying graphics engine will help push around all of the additional pixels in the screen's high-density 940x640-pixel "Retina Display" --which has, incredibly, four times more pixels than previous iPhone models and boasts a 800:1 contrast ratio. The A4 will also be more adept at multitasking and video processing than prior Apple silicon.

Other notable internal features itemized in the photo include a Micro-SIM (not to be confused with Micro-SD), like the iPad, and 16GB or 32GB of Flash memory.

Apple is also touting the stainless steel enclosure and glass, which protects its precious internals. "A new grade of stainless steel that after machining is incredibly strong," Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of Industrial Design at Apple, said in the video cited above. "The steel frame functions as the antenna and primary structure, giving us more internal volume," he said. The screen's glass is "comparable in strength to sapphire crystal (and) about thirty times harder than plastic," according to Ive. Note that the glass is also used on the back of the iPhone 4, a testimony to its strength.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Apple s iPhone vs. Google s Android: Battle may set computing future

Windows vs. the Mac OS. Internet Explorer vs. Netscape Navigator. The iPhone vs. Android.

The first two of those battles have defined computing over the past 25 years, shaping how consumers use their PCs and how they surf the Internet. Now many tech observers are predicting that the third battle will dominate the coming era, determining how consumers use whole classes of new devices from smartphones to tablet computers to Internet-connected televisions.

While many people still cling to their BlackBerrys, and a few to Windows Mobile devices, Google's Android in little more than 20 months has surged to become the strongest rival to Apple's iPhone and its companion iPad, outselling the iPhone in the U.S. for the first time in the first quarter of this year.

Apple will seek to bolster its position Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference, where CEO Steve Jobs is expected to unveil the next version of the iPhone, with new features that may help it regain its advantage. Many also see the event as an opportunity for Apple to fire back at Google, whose representatives made a number of verbal gibes at Apple during its own developer conference last month.

Talking smack may be good fun, but both companies are well aware of the stakes. In recent months they've also engaged in dueling acquisitions, each purchasing startups specializing in mobile advertising and streaming media.

"It's probably going to be an even bloodier battle this

time around," said Tim Bajarin, a principal analyst at Creative Strategies, a consulting firm.

The two companies weren't always at odds. As recently as last summer, Google CEO Eric Schmidt still sat on Apple's board, and when Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, Schmidt was on stage to praise Apple's achievement.

But the battle started brewing not long after Google's move in fall 2007 to unveil Android, its smartphone operating system. Jobs and Apple were reportedly blindsided by the move.

As Jobs put it last week at the D: All Things Digital Conference, put on by a unit of Dow Jones, in describing how the two companies' formerly friendly relationship had soured, "They decided to compete with us (in mobile phones). And it got more and more serious."

But the magnitude of the budding rivalry started to become clear only in recent months, as the market for Android phones exploded. Google has rapidly polished the software, and phone manufacturers have responded: More than 50 phones made by more than 20 manufacturers in 48 countries now run the operating system, up from just three models a year ago. In the U.S., Android phones are on all four of the major carriers.

Consumers are starting to respond, too: According to the latest report from Gartner, an industry research firm, Android-based phones outsold iPhones in North America for the first time in the first quarter of this year. Compared with the year-earlier period, Android phone sales grew an eye-popping 707 percent.

And analysts think that Android is only getting started.

"In a couple of short years, they are going to be the No. 2 operating system in the world — with virtually no marketing," Will Stofega, a smartphone analyst with research firm IDC, said of Android, putting it ahead of the BlackBerry OS and Apple iPhone.

For many observers, it seems a familiar story, similar to what happened in personal computer operating systems in the 1980s. Apple's software was elegant, Microsoft's clunky. Many observers make the same comparison between the iPhone OS and Android's "rough edges."

But Microsoft allowed any personal computer maker to license and install DOS, then Windows, while Apple kept Mac OS to itself. Microsoft's strategy so trounced Apple's that by the mid-1990s, Windows was on the vast majority of personal computers in the world — and Apple was nearly bankrupt.

For its part, Google has been eager to play up the parallels, emphasizing how Android is "open" and the iPhone is "closed" and asserting that openness will eventually win.

At its recent developers conference, Google executive Vic Gundotra even brought his daughter into the fray, saying that she couldn't watch her favorite Nickelodeon videos on her family's new iPad because the site uses Adobe's Flash, and that she had to use Gundotra's Android phone.

"That's what openness means," Gundotra said, in a reference to Apple's shunning of Flash. "It's much nicer than just saying no."

But it's not at all clear yet whether the smartphone market — much less the emerging markets for tablets or smart TVs or other, new "smart" devices — will play out the same way as the personal computer market did. In fact, many analysts believe that while personal computers eventually boiled down to two primary operating systems, with one hugely dominant, the smartphone market is big and diverse enough to sustain four or five.

Apple still has its strengths. The more than 200,000 applications in its Apps Store outnumbers by far the number of applications available for Android, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile phones combined. And Apple has sold 85 million iPhone OS-based devices in the past three years, representing a sizable user base that Android has yet to approach.

Still, as much interest as the Android-iPhone battle is drawing, it's important to note that neither yet ranks among the top two smartphone operating systems worldwide. Symbian — largely linked to cell phone giant Nokia — still owns a commanding 44 percent share of the global market for smartphone operating systems. Research In Motion's BlackBerry operating system still leads among smartphones in North America and is No. 2 worldwide.

And Google has its vulnerabilities. While Apple is closely tuned to consumer demand, Google has had a tough time reaching smartphone customers. Google is soon to introduce the latest version of Android with many new features, but its effort to sell the Nexus One smartphone through the Internet was a self-acknowledged flop.

Google and its manufacturing partners "have done a great job, they've got a lot of fundamental advantages over Apple. The hardware has now eclipsed Apple's," Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney said. "But Apple continues to be successful because their message to the end user is clear and singular and very easy to understand."

The battle might not result in a clear winner and loser. After Jobs' return to Apple, the company figured out a way to succeed in the personal computer business without being the dominant player. Today, while still having a minor share of the business, the company's profits on its Macs are the envy of the industry and it is a leader in adopting new technologies and making more environmentally friendly machines.

Apple could end up playing a similar role in smartphones.

"We want to make better products than them," Jobs said at the D conference. "What I love about the marketplace is that we do our products, we tell people about them, and if they like them, we get to come to work tomorrow."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Intel PlanningThinnest Netbook, Dual-Core Netbook Atom

At the Computex show in Taiwan, Intel disclosed that it was in production of a dual-core Atom chip for netbooks. Intel also revealed "Canoe Lake," a reference design for a 14-mm thick netbook, the world's thinnest.

Intel's Computex announcements are also expected to include Asus, with whom Intel will launch a pre-installed version of its AppUp app store, first running on Windows and later on the MeeGo operating system.

"Acer will be ready with MeeGo-based mobile devices," said Gianfranco Lanci, Acer's chief executive, in a statement. "MeeGo's open software platform will present our customers with another choice of a friendly, easy-to-use operating system. We are pleased to collaborate with Intel in our continuous drive to provide effortless technologies that empower people at work, home - anytime, anywhere."

But thus year's Computex will be about Atom, Intel's embedded processor.

Intel launched and began shipping four Atom microprocessors at Computex: the N455 and N475 for netbooks, and the D425 and D525 for so-called "net-top" desktop PCs.

While all four of the cores support DDR-3 memory, just one of the new chips is a dual-core offering: the D525, a 1.8-GHz chip. Unfortunately, however, Intel did not disclose the model number or clock speed of the new dual-core netbook Atom, part of the "Pine Trail" family; both the N455 and N475 are single-core chips. The chip, rumored to be called the N550, is in production, however, executives said, with products slated to ship by the 2010 holiday season. (An Intel spokeswoman said that the N550 was a "rumored number".)

A new platform for tablets and netbooks, known as "Oak Trail," will also be launched in early 2011, building upon the "Moorestown" platform for PCs with support for Windows 7, MeeGo, and Google operating systems (including Chrome OS and Android) with a 40 percent lower thermal design power.

The "Canoe Lake," "Oak Trail," and new Atom chip launches are part of Intel's "Atom Everywhere" strategy, according to Anil Naudauri, the markting director for netbooks and tablets for the PC client group. In May, Intel announced the "Lincroft" or Atom Z6 platform for smartphones. A month earlier, Intel said its "Tunnel Creek" platform would allow third-party IP designers to bolt on third-party cores with their own custom silicon. And then, of course, there is Google TV, the Atom-powered fusion of the TV and the Web that will be powered by Atom silicon.

The addition of a dual-core Atom for netbooks will be significant, since the company's dual-core efforts have so far been confined to the net-top space. Both the D525 and D425 run at 1.8-GHz; in addition to the extra core, however, the D525 also runs at 8.5 watts of TDP, versus 6.5 watts for the D425. The N455 runs at 1.66-GHz and consumes 6.5 watts; oddly, that's the same rated power consumption as the N475, which runs at 1.83-GHz.

Intel's Oak Trail, platform, builds on the Moorestwon platform Intel has previously designed for the smartphone market, pairing the Atom Z6 chip with the Whitney Point platform with the integrated Langwell platform controller hub. Although there's the expected array of legacy I/O (plus SATA, HD audio, and HDMI) the real push will be enabling a "port of choice," allowing OEMs to choose whichever operating system best suits them, Nanduri said.

In addition to the 40 percent reduction in thermal design power, Oak Trail will be 40 percent smaller and 35 percent thinner, Nanduri said.

Intel devoted very little detail to Canoe Lake, its prototype for a 14-mm netbook, which will apparently be licensed to OEMs. The prototype form factor will incorporate the Pine Trail dual-core Atom, and will be used as the Atom answer to other thin notebooks and laptops, such as the MacBook Air and Dell Adamo XPS.

Nanduri said that there's still quite a bit of interest in ultrathin mobile computing devices, including netbooks. "Clearly there's a market for it," he said. "We were motivated to cater to the market's needs. We've been talking to partners about the technology, and we expect to see very positive momentum for using this."

Both David (Dadi) Perlmutter, executive vice president and co-general manager, Intel Architecture Group, and Renee James, senior vice president of the Software and Services Group, are expected to make speeches tonight at the Computex show, introducing the new products and partnerships.