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IDF report: Intel’s vision for the future of computing

IDF report: Intel’s vision for the future of computing

On a day dominated by Apple iPhone announcements, Intel made a splash of its own. At the annual Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco yesterday, Intel’s top two executives laid the groundwork for the company’s future. CEO Brian Krzanich stated strongly that Intel plans to lead in all segments of computing; servers, PCs, tablets, phones, and wearable computing devices.  

Krzanich said the PC is in the process of reinventing itself: Thinner, smaller designs, better battery life, and new small and light form factors are changing PC architecture. The coming Haswell Y processors for tablets will allow fanless designs with better performance than competing processors (the fourth-generation core CPUs codenamed “Haswell” were just introduced in June). And Intel’s next-generation processor, codenamed “Broadwell,” will be shipping from Intel to vendors by the end of this year. Krzanich said Broadwell will provide another 30 percent boost in battery life.

 As for tablets and phones (a newer area for Intel, with its Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices), the company said that by the end of the year, more than 60 of what it calls “two in one” devices—convertibles and detachables—will be on the market. Tablets based on Intel Core or Atom processors are also an area Intel is ready to shake up: Krzanich promised that there would be devices below $100 by the holiday season. And smart phones will get new processors that provide better battery life and better performance.  

New devices are also in Intel’s future. The company is developing an ultra-small processor, called Quark, to power wearable computing devices, such as Google Glass and the Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch. Quark, one-fifth the size and one-tenth the power of Intel’s low power Atom processor, will be so small that it will be able to go in tiny devices, worn like a patch, or even swallowed for internal medical testing, said Intel’s president, Renée James. Quark is still in the lab-design stage.

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Medical technology is also an area of focus for Intel, helping to move health care out of the hospital. James demonstrated a wearable heart monitor that provides real-time EKG, blood levels, and heart conditions to doctors. With a Quark processor, that device could be transformed into a wearable patch that’s easily hidden.

James also discussed how faster computer technology has reduced human genome sequencing from two weeks to one day—and Intel is aiming toward one hour.

Intel’s technologies are evolving, and products are coming to market with new ways to serve the people who use them. We’ll review these new technologies and products as they are made public.

—Rich Fisco

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