I was with Intel executives by chance today, shortly after the first rumours, based on a New York Times story, that Intel, together with Google, Logitech and Sony, are working on a TV set-top box and service. Intel was demonstrating the capabilities of its Atom platform across a range of CE devices. In particular it was showing how its CE4100 processor combined with the MeeGo middleware joint initiative with Nokia could enable more flexible and more advanced IPTV services in the future.
Amino, which has sold more than 4 million IPTV set-top boxes worldwide, was on hand to claim that the Intel platform has allowed it to develop new devices much more quickly than traditional processor platforms from ST, TI and Broadcom. And Telecom Italia is set to become the first major telco customer of an Intel-based IPTV platform when it rolls out new boxes in the next few weeks. Intel claims to be in talks with many other telcos, including tier ones, about deploying its solution.
Intel made it clear today that its new platform could support Android, as well as many other OSs, while refusing to confirm the rumours of a partnership with Google. Our view is that it would be very surprising if Google did not enter the TV market before very long. It is certainly possible that Intel and Sony could be key partners, although unlikely if these prove to be exclusive deals for any player. Intel for one has made it clear it will be friends with anyone, whether in service provider or retail models.
Intel’s roadmap calls for participation at all levels of the TV market, including entry level devices, but initially its strategy is to drive added value at premium price points. It seems that Intel is finally getting grips with the consumer electronics market after many failed attempts over the years.
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