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Computer of the future?



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SALT LAKE CITY -- The computer world is buzzing this week about a new computer design developed by a Salt Lake technology company.

The Xi3 modular computer is a 3 and a half inch cube and weighs just 1 pound, 4 ounces. It does everything that those large computer towers do -- the ones that take up all that space under your desk at home and work.

"What people have really said is, ‘I want it to be instant, I want it to be small, I want it to use as little power that can be,' and that's what we've built," says Jason Sullivan, founder and CEO of Xi3 Corporation.

Sullivan just returned from the Computer Electronics Show media preview event in New York City. The Xi3 won the hardware innovations award from CES, and the computer will hit the market early next year.

Whether it's for home, business, or an industrial setting, it works with existing components.

Its small size is certainly attractive, but the bigger message is energy use. The Xi3 uses one-fifth the power of a regular desktop PC. And for large companies that's huge.

"So a customer, for instance who has 30,000 desktops doing a medical application, that particular customer could save upwards of $4 million a year just in electricity, just by changing what they have today," Sullivan says.

And think about the possibilities for, say, Internet service providers, which have huge rooms stacked floor to ceiling with computer components. The space savings could be greatly reduced.

The Xi3 has been in the works for years. The company, knowing that it was onto something big, secured the patents first.

"Usually you build a product, you go to market and then the patents are issued later on because you want to get to market," Sullivan says.

"We actually did it the opposite way. Start with what you own first. Build the product slowly; don't be pushed by consumer demand until the product is physically ready," he says.

David Tingey, a patent attorney with the Salt Lake firm Kirton & McConkie, started working on the patent process for Xi3 Corporation in 2002. "It's a very exciting technology. I have a background in electrical engineering and I've never seen any technology like this, and the United States patent office agrees," he says.

Tingey says the Xi3 already has six patents issued in the U.S., with more pending. Patents have been filed in nearly 100 foreign countries, too.

The Xi3 will be available for retail sales in the first quarter of next year. The product is designed and built entirely in the USA.

E-mail: kmccord@ksl.com

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Keith McCord

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