Intel pledges to rejuvenate the PC

PCs will become like consumer electronics devices in the next two years, Intel's CEO said

While much of the innovation these days seems to be happening in smartphones and tablets, Intel says big improvements lie ahead for the trusty PC.

In the next two years, mainstream laptops will get thinner and lighter, run all day on a single battery charge, have touchscreens, get instant-on capabilities and run multiple OSes, all without compromising performance, CEO Paul Otellini said at the company's financial analyst day on Tuesday.

"This is not just about evolving the PC. This is about reinventing the PC into a much more consumer electronics-like device," Otellini said.

Some of the developments are probably being driven by tablets and smartphones -- particularly Apple's iPhone and iPad -- as people become accustomed to computers that start instantly at the press of a button.

While Intel hurries to develop chips that are better suited to smaller devices, it still maintains that PCs will play a central role. "People want to create, and we still look at tablet PCs more as sort of consuming devices," said Dadi Perlmutter, joint head of the Intel Architecture Group.

Intel didn't talk about any specific PCs in the pipeline, but Otellini said the changes will come with "Windows 8, Windows 9 and beyond."

Intel also showed off some new technologies for PCs that it is developing in its labs. It didn't say when any of them would be ready for market.

One, called Fast Flash Standby, aims to make the "hibernate" power-saving mode on laptops less cumbersome to use. Many people don't use hibernate because it takes minutes for a PC to come back to life, while a PC in standby mode starts up in seconds, said an Intel engineer who showed the technologies on stage.

Yet hibernate mode saves much more energy. A laptop battery lasts only a few days in standby mode, but in hibernate mode it can run for almost a month, the engineer said.

So Intel developed a new technology called Fast Flash Standby. It takes a snapshot of the state of the laptop in flash memory just before the PC goes into hibernation and can then bring it back to life in seconds.

The engineer showed the technology on a laptop playing a high-definition video. When she put the machine in hibernation and then started it up again, the video resumed playing almost immediately. She even removed the battery and replaced it, and the machine started up where it left off.

"If I did this in any other state, I'd be rebooting my system," she said.

Another technology aims to help people with multiple computers to keep their files and folders synchronized among the various devices. Instead of using a USB drive or sending files between PCs via e-mail, users can drag and drop files on the screen to transfer them from one PC to another over a Wi-Fi network.

The engineer contended it's better than cloud-based services for sharing content because the data remains within a user's own Wi-Fi network, which she argued is more secure.

A third technology downloads e-mails, Twitter messages and other content automatically while the machine is unattended. A person catching an early flight, for example, can set the PC to wake up in the night and download the latest information, so the user can run for the plane in the morning and have all their e-mail and other content already on the machine.

One final technology, which Intel said was "fresh out of the labs," didn't work too well in the demonstration. It was supposed to allow a PC to act as a server and share images, videos and other files with other computers, even when they were running different operating systems.

An engineer took a photo with an Android phone and made it appear instantly on the screen of a nearby Windows PC. But when he tried the same thing several times with an iPhone, it didn't work.

"The demo gods aren't smiling on us today," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags intelhardware systemslaptopsdesktop pcs

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?