Intel is open to making acquisitions with weakening markets making prices more palatable, and sees technology's key growth areas in healthcare and visual media, outgoing chairman Craig Barrett said on Friday.

Barrett, who steps down in May after 35 years at the company, thinks healthcare should follow the lead of financial services companies, offering access to medical records any time or place around the globe.

The market slowdown, which has been a pretty big hit on the stock market, has made acquisitions more affordable than less affordable to us, Barrett told a small group of reporters after a panel discussion at the Inter-American Development Bank annual meeting.

There is huge opportunity going forward in the area of health care. Health care is one of the industries which has really not embraced information technology to a large degree.

Visualization technology is a second high-growth arena, Barrett said. Movie studios developing richer graphics and full three-dimensional animations all require intense computer processing power, Intel's main business.

You see it in the case of Dreamworks where their animated films are going totally to 3D animations, he said.

These two areas were highlighted by Barrett in response to a question about future growth for the technology industry. Barrett declined to be specific about any area or individual company Intel might pursue.

Intel, larger rival to Advanced Micro Devices in the business of making computer microprocessors, maintained more than $8.6 billion in cash and cash equivalents at the end of 2008, a hoard some say could bankroll acquisitions.

Barrett highlighted Intel's presence in digital medical devices and its promotion of high-speed wireless communications as areas outside of its traditional business, adding the company wants to integrate more into everyday life.

We are working with many of these CE (consumer electronic) companies to integrate the Internet into standard consumer electronic devices. These are the areas that we are looking at in addition to our more historic business, he said.

Intel's development of a low-cost computer chip, named ATOM, is at the center of this effort. However there is concern among investors that Intel is siphoning business from its more powerful and higher-priced chips.

If that chip has a good product margin and it enlarges the market, then doesn't it enlarge our opportunities going forward? Most of the netbooks or the very small more limited function computers are probably expanding the market rather than cannibalizing some of the other part of the industry, he said.

(Reporting by Daniel Bases; editing by Carol Bishopric)