William James Adams Jr., better known as Will.i.am of the popular music group Black Eyed Peas, was named Intel's new director of creative innovation, the chip maker said Tuesday.
Adams, a Grammy winner with multiple platinum albums, will work with Intel on developing new technologies, music and in technology advocacy, Intel said in a statement. It is "a multi-year, hands-on creative and technology collaboration with Intel," the chip giant said.
Will.i.am kicked off his own music apps company this week, Will.i.apps, with an app called BEP360 on iTunes, featuring a 360 degree video of the song "The Time (Dirty Bit)." Users can move their iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch around for a 360-degree view of the music video on their screen, similar to the way Google Sky works. Will.i.apps aims to develop applications that more creatively use advanced digital technologies in music and videos.
"That's the kind of digital media that we want to tap into, that kind of brain," said David Dickstein, an Intel spokesman. He said Will.i.am already has an Intel employee badge and may soon have a workspace at the company.
The unusual personnel move comes just a week after Intel made a similar announcement related to multimedia.
Last week, the company announced that Erik Huggers, director of the BBC's (British Broadcasting Corporation) Future Media & Technology division, will join Intel as corporate vice president and general manager of its Digital Home Group.
The moves are a sign of the growing importance of multimedia in computing. Intel and rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) both put much greater emphasis on graphics in their latest microprocessors in a bid to provide better gaming and video experiences for mainstream users.
Other technology giants have recently turned to musicians for more than just endorsement and advertising deals.
Hewlett-Packard, for example, is using sound technology developed in tandem with rapper Dr. Dre in multimedia laptops, called Beats Audio. The goal, according to HP, is "to provide the optimal sound experience, the way the artist intended it, when playing music or audio through headphones or external speakers."
Last year, the world's largest PC vendor unveiled the technology on the HP Envy 17 3D multimedia laptop and HP Envy 14 Beats Edition. Early this year, HP expanded the use of Beats Audio to consumer laptops including the HP Pavilion dm1.
Photo courtesy of Sharongraphics on Flickr. Available under Creative Commons licence.