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Intel plans TiVo-like wireless PCs

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Intel wants desktop PCs to double up as network hubs and video recorders, a move that could make life tough for the companies that produce those standalone products. Intel will begin midyear by adding wireless networking technology Wi-Fi to an upcoming pair of desktop chipsets. When manufacturers choose a specific version of one of the two new chipsets, they will be able to add the foundation for a built-in Wi-Fi access point for free. At the same time, the company is developing the Entertainment PC (EPC), a desktop design based on Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system. Manufacturers can use the design to create more entertainment-oriented PCs that come with features such as digital video recorders. Intel sees the addition of those features to its PCs as a vital push to secure playback of multimedia content and home networking as essential elements in consumer desktops. It predicts that several future products, including televisions and stereo equipment, will be able to access wireless networks. But the strategy, which lowers the price of gadgets and is a boon to consumers, could leave some companies out in the cold. Similar strategies traditionally have driven some competitors out of markets. Intel's decision to add graphics to its PC chipsets in 1999, for example, preceded a major consolidation among graphics chip makers. The number of companies working on graphics chips shrank from around 40 in 1998 to today's handful. The motherboard market and other industries have experienced similar threats.

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Micro, IEEE  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 2 )