If cars had developed as fast as PC processors…

Intel-CES-2010-175x131…they would go at 470,000 mph, get 100,000 miles to the gallon, and cost 3 cents.

If cars had developed as fast as PC processors...

That was the claim of Intel boss Paul Otellini during his keynote speech here at CES in Las Vegas, in which the chip giant delivered an impressively assured vision of the future.

Otellini was praised by Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) president Gary Shapiro for continuing to innovate its way out of the recession, and the Intel keynote certainly suggested the company is continuing to invest heavily in R&D.

Referring to Intel’s tick-tock approach of a major processor refresh one year, followed by a minor refresh the next, Otellini said it cost a staggering $12 billion to take each of those two-year steps. And that’s not counting the immense amount of non-processor based research the company undertakes.

We saw, for an example, a brief video clip of a robot that hovers by a plug socket and automatically plugs itself in when it needs more power. “It takes a few minutes,” Otellini conceded as the video showed the robot bobbing and weaving until it was correctly lined-up with the socket, but it was still a jaw-dropping piece of technical prowess.

In fact, Otellini claimed that Intel’s labs are on their way to making plug sockets redundant. “We can transfer electrical power wirelessly over several metres,” he said.

“We’re not a company that rests on its laurels,” Otellini said at the conclusion of his speech. “At Intel, we believe our job is to design the future.”

A touch cheesy perhaps, but no exaggeration if the keynote speech was anything to by.

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