Seen at Intel Developer event: PDA with camera, Capt. Kirk and Segway!
- By John K. Waters
[PROGRAMMERS REPORT -Sept 24, 2002] - Intel is making it easier for developers to create rich multimedia
applications for handheld mobile devices with the addition of its Wireless MMX
technology to its XScale processor architecture. The addition of this set of
instructions is calculated to enable software engineers to port multimedia and
graphical routines written for PCs to smaller devices, Intel representatives
The company made the announcement earlier this month at its fall Intel
Developer Forum (IDF). In his opening keynote, Intel President Paul Otellini
told a packed auditorium at the San Jose Convention Center that his company
would continue to boost chip performance and add features, despite the downturn
in the PC market.
XScale evolved from Intel's StrongARM architecture, which was based on the
ARM license granted to Digital Equipment, which was purchased a few years ago by
Intel as part of a patent-infringement lawsuit settlement between the
According to Ron Smith, senior vice president and general manager of the
Intel wireless communications and computing group, Intel Wireless MMX technology
'helps bring desktop-like multimedia capabilities to the Intel XScale technology
in a way that helps increase performance, while minimizing the power needed to
run rich applications.'
The addition offers developers a set of new instructions for future Intel
Personal Internet Client Architecture (PCA)-based processors designed to enhance
the multimedia experience of Intel PCA-based mobile devices. Intel's Wireless
MMX combines the MMX technology instruction set, the integer instructions from
Intel Streaming SIMD Extensions (SSE), plus several new multimedia acceleration
instructions unique to the XScale micro-architecture.
The technology is said to be general enough to address the needs of a large
domain of mobile software applications built from current and future
In closing the IDF conference, Intel CTO Pat Gelsinger presented a keynote
that included a ride to the stage on a Segway 'human transporter,' as well as
some snappy banter with actor William Shatner, best known for his role as Star
Trek's Captain James T. Kirk. Gelsinger underscored the theme of his
presentation -- the future of technology -- by carrying and wearing a host of
electronic devices, including a baseball cap with a monocle eye monitor, a PDA
with a camera, a Bluetooth headset, a universal remote control, a mobile phone,
a personal video player and an electronic vest 'infrastructure/data center' with
a server sewn in the back -- the very devices Intel is targeting with the MMX
Intel is also providing tools 'to help ensure that Intel Wireless MMX
technology is supported today by an extensive development environment.' This
development environment includes compilers, vectorizing compilers, assemblers,
debuggers, simulators, emulators, intrinsics functions and the Intel Integrated
Performance Primitives (IPP).
Intel Wireless MMX technology is supported by several operating systems,
including WindowsCE.NET Version 4.1, SymbianOS, Palm OSv.5, and Linux from
MontaVista and Embedix.
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John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached