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Intel has opened the doors to its Core Duo processor for embedded device builders by guaranteeing support for the chip sets through 2011.

The extension will allow device builders to pursue solutions using the dual-core processors with full confidence that the chips and supporting services will be available from the vendor beyond the typical PC life cycle of one to two years. Embedded devices, such as set-top boxes, industrial control units, test and instrumentation appliances, and medical imaging systems, have a longer lifespan in the market place—usually five to seven years.

The extension measure allows embedded device builders to confidently take advantage of the dual-core technology that will markedly improve performance of their products, said Bill Rollender, product line manger in Intel’s Infrastructure Processor division.

“It’s really a focus to provide increased performance through dual-core nature and significantly lower power consumption to products that really need it,” Rollender said. “For designers with power-sensitive appliances, they are going to get an enormous jump in performance.”

“The makers of these devices tend to have them in product for a long time; they don’t redesign them every year like a PC,” he said. “Ensuring that the processor and services are available for years saves them money on research and development they would otherwise be forced to repeat year after year.”

Third-party developers will similarly benefit from the extended support.

Extended life-cycle support includes more robust testing to ensure devices will last the life of the product, Rollander said.

Intel will also provide software tools, including compilers, performance analyzers and thread checkers, to assist developers in maximizing application performance and to fully exploit concurrent threading through the life cycle, company officials said.