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Intel to put Net phone high on agenda

Intel will lay out Internet strategy, including plans for a Net telephone.

Intel will lay out a good portion of its Internet strategy this month at a conference where an Intel Internet phone, an Internet applications trial between Intel and Sony, and a plan for the creation of an "Internet Dream Machine" will loom large on the agenda.

The conference is scheduled for July 24, but the Intel Internet phone is expected to be announced before the event, said sources close to the company. At the same time, Microsoft and Intel are expected to announce a joint effort to establish H.323 and H.324 as a common standard for Internet phones, standards that Microsoft will later support in its operating systems--Windows 95, Windows NT, or both.

The companies are also expected to affirm support for RTP/RTCP, a protocol for streaming data, and RSVP, which is a technology for reserving bandwidth over the Internet.

Intel will save for the conference itself an announcement with Sony of a trial for multimedia-rich Internet content built around Sony entertainment applications and Intel Internet technology. Intel is also an investor in CNET: The Computer Network.

The Sony-Intel trial will provide examples of what Intel means when it describes "balanced" architecture PCs: computers that store multimedia-rich content on the local hard disk or CD-ROM drive but link to the Internet for less bandwidth-intensive, transitory data. Hybrid applications that would reflect this partition, for example, might store video on the local PC while data and voice communications are sent over the Internet.

The running of demanding multimedia data on the user's local PC is part of an Intel strategy to make sure there is a need for its processors in an Internet-centric world and an acknowledgment that the Internet is not capable of handling the amount of data traffic that multimedia applications demand. This approach to high-bandwidth applications will be further clarified by Intel's explanation of what some company insiders are calling the "Internet Dream Machine"--Intel's concept of the ideal Internet-capable PC.

The Dream Machine isn't expected to become a reality until 1997, sources said, and the technologies behind this concept PC are not yet entirely clear. But the Dream Machine is expected to include technologies such as the fast MMX-enhanced Pentium processors due in the fall or MMX-enhanced P6 processors for the consumer market expected in early 1997. MMX technology is based on additions to the instruction set that will allow some multimedia applications to run between 50 percent and 400 percent faster.

The Intel Internet PC may also include Accelerated Graphics Port architecture for high-end 3D graphics and new software compression technologies to increase the amount of data delivered over standard phone lines.

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