| SAN FRANCISCO, June 19
SAN FRANCISCO, June 19 Intel Corp is
getting into voice instant messaging with a smartphone app that
uses facial tracking technology to caricature a sender's
Pocket Avatars was launched on Thursday by Mike Bell, an
Intel senior executive whose job is to make sure the world's
largest semiconductor maker is at the front of future technology
trends after arriving disastrously late to smartphones and
The app uses a smartphone's camera and microphone to record
a short message while mapping the speaker's facial expressions
onto one of several cartoon characters. The message is then sent
to the recipient, who can play it, complete with the avatar's
head movements, smiles and blinks.
In an interview, Bell described the app, which is free on
Android smartphones and iPhones, as a way to demonstrate facial
tracking technology that could appear on future Intel platforms
such as laptops or tablets.
"Rather than let it sit in a lab and languish, we thought
'wouldn't it be cool to show people,'" Bell said of the
technology. "It's fun and easy to explain what it does, but it's
actually pretty complex behind the scenes."
Intel's core market, the PC industry, is languishing and the
chipmaker is far behind rivals such as Samsung Electronics
and Qualcomm in mobile chips.
(Reporting by Noel Randewich)