• IDF13: Intel hauls out the big guns

    An industry analyst explores some of the compelling technology on show at Intel's IDF13 event in San Francisco this week.
    Date:12 September 2013 Author: Alan Duggan Tags:,

    Hosting thousands of developers, industry leaders, analysts and journalists at IDF13 in San Francisco this week, information technology giant Intel announced its readiness to take on the world with a slew of compelling products and highly productive partnerships. Its game plan? Deliver a steady stream of new mobile hardware and software technologies, using advanced technology to vault the barrier of complexity and bring new opportunities for innovation, collaboration and speed-to-market.

    As battle strategies go, it’s pretty good. The many IDF13 announcements included news of a family of 22 nm multi-core SoCs for tablets, 2-in-1s, all-in-ones, desktops and other computing devices, new Chromebooks using processors based on the Haswell microarchitecture, and the availability of 4th-generation Intel Core vPro processors for business users.

    Some snippets:
    * Dell’s Neil Hand announced the imminent launch of a Windows 8 (8-inch) tablet that would offer 4G and LTE connectivity, excellent battery life and top-notch security; expect news  of the Venue family of tablets from New York on 2 October.
    * Intel’s Kirk Skaugen says in the near future, all 2-in-1 ultrabooks will feature touchscreens and all-day battery life, and by year-end, consumers will enjoy a choice of 60 two-in-one devices. We also learn that Intel and its partners, including Cisco, are working towards “never having to use a password again”.
    * Sneak peek into 2014: an Intel-powered 3D camera has already been embedded into the bezel of a laptop; expect it quite soon.

    Moving along, Intel’s Doug Fisher Fisher introduced the latest line-up of Chromebooks using Intel processors based on the Haswell microarchitecture, including a lead design from HP, followed by systems from Acer, ASUS and Toshiba. Colleague Kirk Skaugen, who heads up Intel’s PC Client Group, waxed eloquent on on the “reinvention” of personal computing by 2-in-1 devices, which blended the power of a PC with the mobility of a tablet, offering greater operating system choice and new user experiences.

    Ultrabooks had been a major driver of innovation in the PC industry, he declared, and had inspired sleeker designs, many with touch capability. Today, laptops with touch functionality were available for less than $450 (about R4 500). With the introduction of new Pentium and Celeron processors, formerly codenamed “Bay Trail” M and D, said Skaugen, Intel expected 2-in-1 devices to hit price points as low as $349 this year, and clamshells selling for as little as $199 (about R2 000).

    Looking forward, Intel’s Dr Herman Eul said the company’s next-generation XMM 7260 modem – scheduled for introduction in 2014 – would bring support for carrier aggregation, faster speeds and support for TD-LTE. He also highlighted Intel’s “Merrifield” platform for 2014 smartphone and tablet designs, employing the versatile 22 nm Silvermont microarchitecture.

    Merrifield would enable a 50 per cent improvement in performance and battery life over the current-generation “Clover Trail+” product, said Eul, and would also bring support for advanced imaging, contextual awareness and personal services via an integrated sensor hub, plus increased data, device and privacy protection.

    During the course of his presentation, Eul made the statement: “Our technology knows us.” And therein, we suspect, lies the future of personal computing…

    Additional source: Intel