Intel moves into consumer electronics

Intel is set to put the power of its brand behind a new family of Internet-centric consumer devices. First out of the gate will be a new breed of MP3 player.

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By  Rob Corder Published  January 3, 2001

The pulling power of Intel Corporation’s brand name is about to be put to the test in the hyper-competitive world of consumer electronics.

Craig Barrett, Intel’s chief executive will deliver a keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Friday, the first time an Intel CEO has spoken at the gadget event.

In that speech, according to US wire reports, Barrett plans to unveil Intel’s newest consumer offering, a portable device for digital music that offers twice the memory of current models and supports other formats in addition to MP3 recordings, the most popular digital-music technique.

He also will showcase two products expected from Intel later in 2001: an instant-messaging and e-mail device called the ChatPad and a WebTablet that lets users surf the Internet from the couch or kitchen using a wireless screen the size of a hardcover book.

The digital-audio player, which will retail for about $299, has about twice the amount of flash memory as other such devices. It includes a programmable chip so that users can update its music formats if successors to MP3 and Microsoft Windows Media become popular.

The WebTablet and ChatPad both use StrongARM processors and have flash memory as well. Each requires a PC at different times; the WebTablet, for example, communicates without wires to a home computer and relies on the PC’s Internet connection.

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