We all know that most of the major chipmakers and computing companies out there have been working on spreading their influence in a “post-PC” age. Though it's not really as “post” as the name suggests—there are still plenty of places for PCs—it's clear that there are other options out there, and businesses are working to capitalize on these changes. Intel is no different, and recently made a move into a growing sector of the market by buying Movidius.
Movidius was well known in the field as a source of processors targeting drones, virtual reality systems, and similar devices. It's previously been seen working with Lenovo and Google, among others, in providing the chips that form the base of several entrants in growing fields. Most recently, Movidius brought out the Myriad 2, a chip that's small enough to fit on a common fingernail, reports note, but is capable of distinguishing between several different video streams simultaneously. Details of the deal weren't announced, but it's expected to close by the end of the year.
For its part, Intel is said to be interested in combining the Movidius product line with Intel's depth-sensing systems, making the resultant product even better for the addition. With depth-sensing, augmented tracking and mapping systems become possible, and an additional capability to recognize objects and landscapes therein makes for even better potential, as noted by the senior vice president of Intel's new technology group, Josh Walden. Walden also suggested that the new combined efforts will go into not only virtual reality and drones, but also into robotics, augmented reality systems, digital security cameras and more.
This isn't the first company Intel's bought recently, but rather, only the latest. Just recently, Intel picked up Nervana Systems for over $400 million, landing a machine-learning company and its efforts in the process.
Intel's moves here are worth exploring, especially as its PC processor business is increasingly not what it used to be. With so many potential devices requiring processors, though, some basic lateral moves may be all Intel really needs to survive long-term. Adding machine-learning capabilities are great measures for drone systems—such systems allow a drone to not run into things or focus on collecting some things—and for security cameras as well. This could be the start of any of a host of technologies from drone aircraft that pick apples to security cameras trained to look for certain faces, and Intel could be at the heart of it all.
This move may be just one in a string for Intel, but it's a string that could lead to big new technologies and a whole new market presence for the company. Naturally, it'll be awhile before we see how this all boils down, but knowing what we know now, look for Intel to bring out some exciting new propositions over the next couple of years.
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