Twice a year, Intel gathers to host the Intel Developer Forum -- a sort of Glastonbury for geeks. Instead of forcing hedonistic music fans to sit around in damp fields ogling rock stars, however, the chipmaker gathers its mightiest nerds to peddle the latest technological advancements to an audience of adoring dorks.
San Francisco was the venue for the recent autumn event. There, our intrepid colleagues from CNET News bore witness to laptops with four (count 'em) screens, the latest netbook processors, the fastest laptop chips ever, interactive 3D TVs, and -- just when you thought wireless tech was the future -- the next generation of wires.
Yup, we nearly had a little nerdgasm over that last one, too. We suggest you put on a comfortable pair of pants, grab yourself a fresh bag of Doritos (maybe some hummus too -- go on, treat yourself, it's Monday) and head on over to our photo gallery to see what all the fuss is about.
This concept laptop, codenamed Tangent Bay, sports four displays. The main screen functions as normal, while three additional touchscreen displays above the keyboard allow quick access to music, images and video files.
Tangent Bay is somewhat reminiscent of the Windows Sideshow feature that fell off the face of the planet a couple of years ago. It's clever, but we suspect using an ordinary mouse or keyboard would be much quicker than fiddling about with a tiny little touchscreen.
Intel's Mooly Eden shows off the company's fastest mobile processor ever -- the Clarksfield Core i7. Eden, in keeping with the image portrayed by his Samuel L Jackson-esque Kangol hat, described the chip as "kickass". We think that's a good thing.
Thin-and-light laptops got an airing, too. Manufacturers look set to market sexy, MacBook Air-style laptops in an attempt to drive average laptop prices up -- offsetting the low margins of cut-price netbooks.
3ality Digital demonstrated a double-barrelled videocamera designed to capture live 3D video. The company supplies technology that keeps the two Sony cameras aligned precisely to sub-pixel accuracy even when the cameras are panning, zooming and refocusing.
Intel CEO Paul Otellini fondles a silicon wafer built on 22-nanometer fabrication technology. Each of the fingernail-sized CPUs on this wafer contains 2.9 billion transistors. 22nm chips are expected in the second half or 2011.
Intel also showed off its 'Arrandale' laptop technology, which contained a 32nm Nehalem mobile chip with graphics core together in one package. It was shown running head-to-head with a current Atom-powered netbook, which it duly spanked. Arrandale tech should ship in the first quarter of 2010.
Intel also took delight in showing off its high-end graphics solution. Larrabee will be Intel's first discrete, or standalone, graphics processor in about 10 years and is expected to compete with graphics solutions from Nvidia and ATI.
And here's the new, high-speed cable we mentioned. Light Peak will replace the profusion of different cables sprouting from today's PCs with a new fibre-optic link. It's capable of carrying data at 10 gigabits per second in both directions simultaneously, over a super-small connector. This, it's hoped, will ultimately lead to even thinner laptops as connector sizes are reduced.
Intel also took time to show off the Atom CE4100 processor for TVs. It's designed to bring Web content and services to digital TVs, DVD players and set-top boxes. Here, it's pulling up player info from a football match.