Intel unveiled a new software platform to help usher in its vision of an electronic world where devices -- ranging from data servers to mobile handhelds -- will deploy familiar and easy to use interfaces , while expanding its reach to broader markets.

Speaking at the annual Intel Developer Conference in San Francisco, CEO Paul Otellini said Intel will build a continuum of hardware and software architectures to unify the computing experience for all users, regardless of industry or need.

What we want to deliver to consumers is the same personal computing experience to any device, Otellini said. In the process of doing this we'll see a redefinition of the playing field between industries and companies and breaking down the barriers.

The vision naturally sees Intel chips and processors at the heart of these devices, but the centerpiece is a new program to help other companies develop and distribute software for its devices. The company will work with partners to develop stores, much like Apple's iPhone App store, to create software under their own brand.

With Intel's new effort, called the Atom Developer Program, the company argues that programmers will be able to ensure that their software will run on multiple devices, but the experience for users will be similar among the products.

Initially aimed at the Atom processor, netbooks manufacturers will be the first companies to adopt the program, but Intel executives see the Atom technology moving to other consumer electronic devices, such has cell-phones and set-top boxes.

Dell, Acer and Asustek will be the first three companies to sign on to the program, Otellini said.

The new strategy would effectively move Intel beyond the personal computer and into an era of personal computing, converging its disparate product lines.

The world's largest microprocessor company remained bullish on the outlook of personal computing, however.

Otellini said the rebound is being fueled by the fact computers are indispensable.

I think that the market is poised for a resurgence, he said. He said he expects PC sales to be flat to slightly up this year from last.

Market researcher Gartner predicts a 2 percent decline in PC shipments for 2009, though that's better than a few months ago, when the group was forecasting a drop of 6 percent.