September 14, 2012, 3:18 PM — At the Intel Developer Forum, there is one must-see keynote that many attendees unfortunately miss because it comes last. This keynote, by Intel CTO Justin Rattner, whose taste of whimsy makes his presentations more memorable than most, gives us a glimpse of what's coming soon from Intel Labs.
This wasn't always the case. About a decade ago, these presentations tended to promise the impossible. This point hit home when Rattner, wearing psychic headgear that moved artificial ears according to mood, opened with a video showcasing a decade-old keynote given by his predecessor, Pat Gelsinger, now CEO of VMware.
What Gelsinger promised-and Intel is, a decade later, planning to deliver-is the first analog radio built from digital technology. The engineers watching that keynote in the early 2000s thought that was impossible and, likely came close to a coronary upon seeing Gelsinger's promise, but they developed it anyway.
This advancement is now a cornerstone of Intel's wireless future and will be key to the company's capability to compete with long-time digital radio makers for future smartphones, tablets and other small, connected devices from sensors to micro robotics. Let's explore this unwired future.
Digital Analog Radios Coming to a Smartphone Near You?
Ratter demonstrated the first true digital analog radio, which could break an existing innovation barrier: analog doesn't scale down well. According to Intel, once you shrink under 100 nanometers, performance drops off a cliff and the technology becomes nonviable.