Netbooks bigger than iPhone, Wii: Intel

Intel’s focus is changing from “the personal computer” to “personal computing” which encompasses a “continuum” of devices ranging from large to small around each person the company’s CEO Paul Otellini has announced.

“This is a profound shift for Intel moving from a PC focus to making all computing personal” Otellini said.

“If I look forward out say 5 years or so I can easily see the point where Intel ships more SOC devices per year than standard microprocessors.”

SOC is an acronym for “system on a chip” describing a chip that includes the functions of various chips traditionally found on a PC motherboard and its expansion cards.

NVIDIA already sells a PC SOC under the name “Ion” while Intel has an upcoming Atom processor codenamed Pineview which will include CPU and GPU in one chip.(More on Pineview here.)

A major part of Intel’s push will be smaller and more power-efficient Atom-based motherboards. Otellini showed its upcoming SOC motherboards with next year’s Moorestown board due to be half the size of the current board with 50 times lower standby power consumption while the year after will bring a board that’s only a third the size of a credit card — easily small enough to fit a full x86 PC into the smallest phones.

Intel also showed off its Moblin Linux-based operating system which goes up against the iPhone OS Google Android and Windows Mobile in the battle for smartphone supremacy.

Moblin 2.1 is designed to work on computers as small as mobile phones right through to laptops and desktop PCs.

However Intel made a point of saying that it wasn’t going to be ‘pushing’ Moblin and was equally happy with hardware makers running
Windows 7 on Atom processors.

See a full slideshow of Intel’s new Moblin 2.1 here.

Dan Warne is attending Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco as a guest of Intel.