Intel's Secret Geekfest to Kill the iPhone

Apple's got the iPhone. Google's got Android. Even Amazon has the Kindle. After flirting several times with the ooohs-and-aaaahs gadget business, Intel convened a brain trust last week to work on their own mobile phone.

A wireless exec from Disney was at the recent invite-only "brain drain," according to a tipster who was at the meeting on Intel's campus in Santa Clara, Calif. As was John Faith, the head of MySpace Mobile. Alan Kay, a famous computer scientist attended, along with a host of other graybeards. So what did Intel show all the geeks it gathered?

Executives shared secret plans to build a new mobile device based on Intel technology that the chipmaker hopes to have on the market this year. The inspiration: the runaway success of Apple's iPhone. And the fear: that this will be a rerun of Intel's past failed attempts, like the dead-on arrival "ultramobile portable computer" concepts it showed off last year.

Devices based on Intel's design — they probably won't carry the Intel brand, except in the "Intel Inside" sense — will run Google's Android operating system. The design displayed at the summit also featured a "shitload" of variable resistance sensors, our source told us — a simple technology found in dials, touchscreens, and other input sensors. Apple uses a more complex touchscreen technology in its iPhone, suggesting Intel's approach might lead to cheaper touch-sensitive phones, or even devices that respond to the way they're held.

The résumés of the people in attendance suggested a serious effort — just about every major tech company in Silicon Valley was represented. And Intel has reason to gun for Apple's iPhone. Apple has bought its own chip-design subsidiary, allowing it to bypass Intel's industry-standard processors. But that's all we know so far. Has anyone else heard about this top-secret Intel summit? Fill us in on what you know.

(Photo via Buylabcoat.com)