Intel wants to be part of our lives. It’s professed strategy is to be in every device and for all devices to be constantly connected. When KitGuru says that, are we describing a digital dream or an Orwellian nightmare? How does the McAfee purchase fit in with this plan and what should you expect to see by the end of 2012? KitGuru opens an umbrella, pours a jug of Pimms and considers the future.
Sky is massive. No. Not the blue [dark grey surely – Ed] thing above your head. The broadcaster. In the UK, it has access to around 10 million households – almost 3 million of which buy broadband from Sky. Sky’s numbers could rise substantially over the next few years.
Who provides the security-as-a-service package for your Sky broadband kit? McAfee.
So what does Intel own/control? Alongside two of the world’s leading AV solutions (McAfee and AVG), Intel also has an embeded operating system, low power processors, memory manufacturing and mainboard production.
What can you produce, easily, with all of this gubbins?
If you’re thinking set-top boxes, then you are exactly the kind of reader we like best. We can confirm that Intel went quite far down the line with a set-top box concept in 2004 and again in 2009. It never actually seems to have put them on the shelves in John Lewis and asked us for £295, but it’s definitely got close.
Butwhat else can we glean from this?
Sky boxes already have massive penetration and can play basic games. By putting a significantly more powerful (but not more expensive) unit under the TV, Sky would be able to deliver a much fuller set of experiences. Each experience can create its own revenue stream. Intel is the kingof putting a chip in a box and getting you to pay for it once every few years. Companies like McAfee and Sky are the masters of keeping their hand in your pocket for the rest of your life. It’s not robbery, as such, just a different way of leaching profits.
So what else sits under your glamorous 50″ TV and looks like a market where Intel should be number one, but – in fact – it’s numero zero?
Xbox 360 has succeeded in many ways over the PS3, even though Sony had a much more powerful brand in the home space. Not only did Microsoft come with a huge price advantage, but it also owned game companies. However, the one area where Microsoft had a huge lead over Sony was online community, interaction and services. If you can get the right combination of features, then customers will flock.
If Intel succeeded in creating the perfect Sky-labelled/enabled set-top box, with proper gaming, then that invention could give it the customer infrastructure it needs to own a significant part of the gaming eco-sphere. Being able to influence the game development cycle would open up the possibility for Intel to launch Larrabee as a product.
Why? Well, Intel’s Larrabee looks like it will struggle to catch AMD/nVidia in pure graphics processing. However, if it can fundamentally change the way in which games are written, then it can simply get games written in a way that suits its silicon. Nice.
Even that’s not ‘big picture’ enough, when there’s a greater level of integration available here.
Intel-owned AVG has a strong CEO in outspoken J.R. Smith. He’s smart and not shy in giving an opinion. His most recent blog posts deal with security in the Cloud, Smartphones and how his company is ready to help defend Apple.
Intel is inside Apple. Intel is inside the Cloud. Intel is also inside Smartphones. It is not inside the console.
KitGuru is going to put a small wager on Intel creating a new product class/market by the end of 2012 that will allow it to be in every UK home as part of your Sky subscription, with a huge gaming and online community, while enabling a greater level of interaction between the various devices that consumers carry around.
If that happened, surely it would open the door for a 100% AMD version of the XBox 720 with Fusion II – produced by Global Foundries with an IBM-backed process and Samsung memory.
That’s our bet.
As early as 2004, Intel executives were saying that they expected Intel to get into set-top boxes which delivered “Gaming, browsing, video on demand, pay per view, telephony and a full range of streaming options”, we now think this is a reality, but it will be a much more collaborative venture than first planned.
KitGuru says: With AMD dropping the ATI logo and loading SKUs with AMD Fusion over the next 6 months, it’s setting itself on a clear path forward. With Intel’s shopping-bag-of-other-companies full to bursting with McAfee, AVG, Wind River and others, the world’s biggest processor manufacturer also looks to have a new vision.
Tell us we’re wrong. You know you want to. Down below or in the KitGuru forum.