Live from Las Vegas: Intel CEO Craig Barrett introduced the "Extended PC Era" during his Friday night keynote of the 2001 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, a cutting response to predictions that we are entering the post-PC era. Similar in concept to Microsoft's notion of the "PC-Plus Era," Barrett's vision for the future has consumers integrating PCs with digital consumer electronics products, rather than replacing PCs. And while the cynical may note that Intel makes the lion's share of its money from PC microprocessors, the company's vision is far more realistic than anything offered by non-PC companies such as Oracle or Sun.

"The PC is at the center of the digital universe, and that universe is expanding," Barrett said, noting one billion PCs will be connected to the Internet sometime in the near future. "In the Extended PC Era, the combination of powerful and versatile Intel Pentium 4 processor-based PCs and a vast array of digital products will help consumers use their home PCs and the Internet in new, exciting ways. This emerging consumer scenario is what we call PC^X - the PC to the power of X."

Barrett demonstrated Pentium 4-based PCs interacting with a variety of consumer electronic devices that the company now produces. These include wireless keyboards and mice, the Dot.Station Web appliance, the QX3 computer microscope, PC cameras, and the new Pocket Concert Audio Player, which features 128 MB RAM. "As digital consumer devices evolve, they will migrate toward more of the PC's capabilities and blend into the PC environment, enhancing and extending the home PC," Barrett said. "In the Extended PC Era, the home PC will be tasked to do even more and consumers will be at the center of their own Internet experiences." Barrett said that the line of Intel-branded consumer products will grow dramatically in 2001