"Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) believes one of the next frontiers for
proliferation of computing devices is in the home, and it's
unleashing a large portion of Intel Architecture Labs' research
staff to exploit those opportunities. With some 600 staffers,
IAL focuses much of its research and development effort on creating
Internet-based hardware and software for consumers and
"The Media Appliance is the labs' attempt to create an
all-in-one set-top box. A prototype demonstrated for ZDNet
News showed capabilities including that of a cable receiver, video
recorder, DVD player, music jukebox and video game console. It also
sported an enhanced program guide. ... The device would include a
Pentium or a StrongARM chip as well as a hard drive and remote
control, which doubles as a mouse. Although Intel is a strong ally
with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), this box could be powered
by the Linux operating system -- Intel execs said the machine
was designed to be "OS agnostic."
"When it comes to expanding home networking and linking these
different devices together, the IAL is working with standards such
as Universal Plug and Play (UPnP). Intel recently announced plans
to release to open source a UPnP development kit for the Linux
operating system. The development kit will allow companies that use
the Linux OS in their electronic devices to tap into UPnP networks.
As such, a Linux-based Internet appliance could communicate with a
PC or any number of other devices, including printers. Intel
expects that the major Linux distributors will include UPnP support
in the future. UPnP support may also find its way into white goods,
such as refrigerators and washers."
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