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Paul Otellini, chief executive officer at Intel Corp., said that the demand towards system-on-chip (SoC) devices was set to grow and that at some point in future Intel would ship more SoCs than microprocessors. At present Intel pins a lot of hopes on SoCs featuring Atom processing cores, which means that such devices will hardly offer truly high computing performance.

“We already have over twelve 32nm SoCs in development at Intel coming out over the next couple of years. And, in fact, if I look forward, out, say, five years or so, I can easily see the point where Intel Corporation ships more SoC devices per year than standard microprocessors,” said Paul Otellini during his keynote at Intel Developer Forum 2009.

It is rather logical for Intel to concentrate on system-on-chip devices: the vast majority of SoCs power miniature electronics, including mobile Internet devices, portable digital media players, video game consoles, consumer electronics, embedded applications, communication equipment, cell phones, in-car entertainment systems and many other types of computing devices. The total available market for SoCs is naturally considerably higher compared to that of central processing units (CPUs).

At present low-power electronics is based on ARM microprocessors developed by various companies. Software developed for ARM is not compatible with x86 processors and vice versa. This is exactly why Intel is starting to support software designers that would develop programs aimed at aforementioned types of electronics and x86 chips.

To encourage the creation of innovative applications for Intel Atom processor-based products, Intel this week launched the Intel Atom Developer Program for independent software vendors (ISVs) and developers.

The program provides a framework for developers to create and sell software applications for netbooks with support for handhelds and smart phones available in the future. Through the program, developers seeking to reduce overhead and streamline the creation of new applications may also license development tools and application modules directly from other independent developers and ISVs.

To provide the broadest choice of applications across platforms, the Intel Atom Developer Program will support multiple operating systems and run-time environments. Run-times enable developers to use a single code base to support multiple device platforms and avoid extensive reprogramming, thereby reducing development costs and time-to-market.

The program offers a streamlined and transparent process that will take the developer from application creation through testing and, finally, to the go-to-market stage. Intel is working with netbook original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other partners to create application storefronts through which validated applications will be sold.

Members of IADP will be given access to tools and resources that will aid the pre-development process. The Intel Atom Developer Program software development kits will be available to members in late fall.

Tags: Intel, x86

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