Few companies have done more to shape the world of IT than Intel. Its technologies can be found in the most powerful computer systems and the smallest, wearable devices. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, in his keynote speech at CES 2015, talked about the next wave of consumer technology – one that is better connected, more intelligent, and truly personal. And, because a great deal of consumer tech is also business tech, this wave will have an impact on the workplace and commercial markets too.
Twenty years ago, in 1995, Intel launched the Pentium Pro processor that went on to power the PCs that would run Windows 95, Windows NT, and the first consumer web browsers. In the same year, Intel produced the first integrated circuits supporting USB, spawning an entire industry of plug-and-play peripherals and devices. Intel can also lay claim to kick-starting the enterprise mobile computing era in 2003 with its Centrino technology, a chipset that provided notebooks with longer battery life and wireless networking capabilities.
But Intel, like its industry running mate, Microsoft, was a latecomer to the game-changing smartphone and tablet market. Nevertheless, the company has caught up and is now clearly back on track, enabling a range of new possibilities with its technologies and market initiatives. The first of these, Intel RealSense, gives computers and devices "eyes" and "ears" so that users can interact more naturally with them. The second, True Key, is a cross-platform application that uses personal factors, such as the face, device, or fingerprint, to make logging in easier and more secure. Intel is also updating its wireless display technology, and the company is giving wireless charging a boost by partnering with Hilton and Marriott hotel chains, bringing the day when one can travel or work cable-free one step closer.
As if to herald the company’s return, the Intel-powered Dell Venue 8 7000 tablet won CES best-in-show in the mobile device category. With a quad-core Intel Atom processor and RealSense technology, this Android-based tablet joins an impressive stable of new Dell devices. For many employees and consumers, tablet computers from companies such as Dell have become the new laptop, especially when combined with a Bluetooth keyboard cover and Microsoft Office for Android/iPad (a version for Windows tablets is imminent). And if the tablet is the new laptop, then the laptop must be the new workstation. And so it would seem to be with the arrival of the 5th Generation Intel Core processor family, delivering improved system and graphics performance and more natural and immersive user experiences, and enabling longer battery life compared to previous generations.
Computers and mobile devices will not be the only targets for Intel’s new processors. Ovum expects the company to target the Internet of Things (IoT) with its new chips, especially in retail, manufacturing, and medical sectors. So, on the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law, 2015 looks set to be a landmark year for Intel – with or without Microsoft. Indeed, Intel’s new partners could just as easily come from the world of fashion as IT, as the company has also announced the Intel Curie module – an offering designed specifically for companies interested in developing wearable technology solutions.
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