As the lines between desktop and notebook and between notebook and tablet continue to disappear, Intel wants to be the company that leads consumers into the next era of personal computing. During Intel’s Computex Taipei 2014 keynote address on Wednesday morning, the company’s president, Renée James, outlined Intel’s vision for this future and the chips and devices that will shape it.
“The lines between technologies categories are blurring as the era of integrated computing takes hold where form factor matters less than the experience delivered when all devices are connected to each other and to the cloud”, said James. “Whether it’s a smartphone, smart shirt, ultra-thin 2 in 1 or a new cloud service delivered to smart buildings outfitted with connected systems, together Intel and the Taiwan ecosystem have the opportunity to accelerate and deliver the value of a smart, seamlessly connected and integrated world of computing”.
But for now, smart shirts are still some way off and so Intel is focusing on 2-in-1 computers, i.e., touchscreen notebooks with detachable keyboards which, when removed, convert the screen into a standalone tablet and the next generation of chips that will power them.
Defining a category of device
In fact, it is so confident that they’re going to be the next big thing in computing that it wants to make them a clear category of device and has built a reference model, just like it did with the ultra book. The idea is that if a manufacturer wants to build a 2-in-1 and call it thus, the device will have to meet certain design and component criteria.
During her presentation, James unveiled the impressive design, a computer that weighs just 670g, that can do some serious processing without a fan (thanks to the company’s new Broad well chip which is coming later this year) and because of the fanless design is extremely svelte at just 7.2mm thick.
James said that the new chip will be called the Intel Core M Processor when it starts appearing in manufacturers’ devices and that the majority of computers heading to the shops before the end of the year that reference Intel’s design will be “razor thin”.
But as well as 2-in-1s, Intel is focused on the tablet. Over a dozen new tablets will be unveiled at this year’s event with Intel inside and James said that in all, 130 new tablets are coming to market this year that use Intel processors, architecture or system on a chip technology. Intel’s keynote came at the same time as Apple was unveiling its own vision for the future of computing on the other side of the world.
Apple also sees the future in convergence, and, more importantly, in continuity between devices and during its World Wide Developers Conference keynote in San Francisco, demonstrated how new enhancements to its desktop, tablet and smartphone operating systems will allow users to switch constantly between devices in order to work on a single task, be it creating a spreadsheet, editing a photo or writing an email or even taking a phone call via the desktop. Like Intel, Microsoft is also betting big on the 2-in-1 form factor that is essentially what the Surface Pro 3 is. Unveiled in May, it is computer-cum-tablet with a detachable keyboard and Microsoft is also betting big that it is the key to keeping Windows relevant, important and usable as we move further into the post-PC age.