"Small is Beautiful"
The key theme of the VIA keynote address, given by VIA President and CEO Wenchi Chen, was how miniaturization and feature integration at the silicon, platform and system level, as enabled by the great strides made in power efficiency over the last few years, are driving the transition of the traditional PC platform into smaller, cooler, lighter devices than ever before – and, thus, accelerating the pace of digital intelligence proliferation. This in turn enables our partners to create real product differentiation and add real value for customers, growing market
To highlight VIA's industry leadership in miniaturization and integration at the silicon level, Wenchi Chen gave an early preview of John, the next in the VIA CoreFusion processor platform series, that combines a VIA C7®-M mobile processor core with the very latest totally integrated mobile chipset, the VX700. As a complete processor plus core logic in a single package, John will play an important role in maintaining the pace of miniaturization when it is launched later this year.
The transition in the mobile space of the notebook PC to smaller, lighter devices with more consumer electronics design was highlighted by Epan Wu, Deputy Director of CPU Product Marketing, who looked first at the new category of PCs, the Ultra Mobile PC, explaining the benefits of this new form factor recently launched by Microsoft, and demonstrated PBJ "SmartCaddie", one of the first UMPCs on the market. She then went on to talk about the further shrinking of the platform that has enabled our partner DualCor to create the cPC, a PC Phone that comprises a full PC, PDA and cellphone in a pocket-sized ultra compact form factor.
On the desktop side, VIA Chipset Marketing Manger Keith Kowal demonstrated the VIA K8M890 running Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Beta 2 on a motherboard powered by a new AMD Socket AM2 processor, underscoring the collaboration at the platform level. Two of the Chrome Ambassadors, members of the VIA-sponsored girlz 0f destruction PC gaming team were also on hand to confirm the value of using VIA and S3 Graphics hardware in their professional gaming careers, and Jamie "Missy" Pereyda, reigning Ms QuakeCon champion, also explained what it was like to be a resident in the " Home of Chrome" eSports training facility in Stockholm.
And here too there is a transition, from the traditional PC tower to mini PC form factors and, during the keynote, Richard Brown, VP of Corporate Marketing, unveiled an exciting new concept: the VIA Vogue PC that truly personalizes the PC platform. Comprising a full featured, compact PC plus a "wardrobe" of designer shell outfits, users can select the right outfit to suit their environment, whether sleek black leather for the office, chic chrome-framed for the home, or rugged blue for the den. Launching later this year, the VIA Vogue PC promises to redefine the lifestyle PC with this innovative fashion approach to computing.
There was also an update on the VIA pc-1 Initiative, with a fascinating overview of deployments of VIA's power efficient PC technologies in remote desert locations in Mali by Wayan Vota of Geekcorps, a US-based NGO installing ICT in targeted emerging markets and encouraging innovative business models to sustain the technology empowerment. There was also a demonstration of a VIA pc-1 PHD Appliance running off a car battery, one of the important alternative energy sources in remote locations and in places with unstable electricity supplies, a prevalent condition in many emerging markets.
VIA was also delighted to welcome Phil Hester from AMD, who gave an overview of the trends in multicore processing, and echoed VIA's message of the importance of power efficiency. Otto Berkes of Microsoft's Ultra Mobile PC group also continued Wenchi's theme of increasing miniaturization on the mobile platform, and explained what Microsoft is doing in this arena. The keynote session was concluded by Timothy Chen, Strategic Marketing Director at VIA, who gave an exciting presentation on the fast-emerging world of digital content services.
Specialist Technology Tracks
VTF2006 featured four specialist technology tracks, each offering a compelling program of presentations delivered by industry experts and high level representatives:
The High Definition Platforms Technology Track covered the latest trends in the performance PC segment, and featured leading analyst Rob Enderle from the Enderle Group providing an overview of the market and some insights as to what Vista will bring to mainstream computing; Weber Chuang sharing VIA's vision and strategy; AMD Fellow Rod Fleck talking about High Definition Digital Media Solutions, Dr. Gerry Liu of S3 Graphics elaborating on developments in the discrete graphics market, and Mark Tekunoff, Senior Technology Manager of Kingston Technology discussing the latest trends in performance memory.
The Ultra Mobility Technology Track emphasized the importance of miniaturization and low-power solutions in the mobile space, and was very well received. Rob Enderle opened the track looking at what's to come in the Ultra Mobile PC market; he was followed by Epan Wu providing an overview of VIA's Ultra Mobile Platforms and clear technology leadership in this market. In an exciting presentation, Dennis Luo shared Microsoft's vision and developments for the ultra mobile market and demonstrated the features of its Origami system, while IBM's Dr. Gary Bronner discussed the benefits of SOI technology for UMPC processors. The track was wrapped up with a highly though-provoking look at future innovation in ultra mobile design by Kris Verstockt, Executive Director of Cre8 Design.
Specifically targeted at IT managers and CIOs, the Connected Client Computing Technology Track proved to be highly successful and featured high-level representatives from leading industry players. Sunny Chen of IDC presented an analysis of the global thin client industry and the redefining of client devices; Citrix Senior Consultant Daniel Hsia looked at access and future trends, and VIA's Epan Wu shared VIA's Connected Client vision and strategies. Benjamin Ou of HP expanded on the considerable cost and efficiency benefits of thin client deployments, while MingCheng Sheng from ASE provided the audience with an interesting perspective on "thinking thin".
Reflecting the importance of innovation in bridging the digital divide, the Emerging Markets Technology Track spanned a whole day. Richard Brown, VP of Marketing, elaborated on the VIA pc-1 Initiative and future strategies for emerging markets, highlighting the importance of alternative power, and invited Motech, a specialist in solar panel technology, to showcase some innovative solutions; this was followed by a fascinating overview of hands-on empowerment technology projects in Mali was given by Wayan Vota of Geekcorps. Dr. G.J. Huang of Taiwan's Institute for Information Industry addressed the digital divide and the development of a ubiquitous networked society, while Professor B.H. Jajoo of the Indian Institute of Management shared his experience in managing large scale e-governance projects and brought an Indian perspective to the track.
The afternoon session featured Ken Fuhrman of Interact-TV, presenting on Home Entertainment Servers and the digital lifestyle, Nandan Kundetkar of SPL Innotech, looking at the growth and applications of IPTV, Stuart Brown of Band Telecom on Voice over IP solutions based on the Mini-ITX, and Sascha Pallenberg from epiOS, who demonstrated the flexibility and applications of this modular operating system.
For more information on VTF2006 speakers, presentations, sponsors and exhibitors, please follow the links in the side bar.