Intel offers vision for future of computing at CES

by Wendy Qi

LAS VEGAS, the Untied States, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) — Intel laid out a vision for the future of computing and consumer technology in the post-PC era during its keynote session Tuesday at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

In particular, the world’s largest semiconductor company’s chief executive, Paul Otellini, stressed the importance of creating an ecosystem between an increasing portfolio of devices and services to deliver better experiences for consumers.

“The devices themselves are less relevant,” said Otellini in his opening remarks. “The more important question is, ‘are we creating a better experience?’ That’s the ultimate litmus test for all of us in the industry and at CES.”

Throughout the session, Otellini brought out a number of technology partners to demonstrate products built on Intel technology, including the Lenovo K800, the first smartphone built using Intel’s “Medfield” Atom chip.

Emphasizing the importance of the Chinese market, Otellini and Liu Jun, president of Lenovo’s mobile division, said the phone would be launched in China before it was introduced to other global markets. It will be available on China Unicom from the second quarter of this year.

“The smartphone is the biggest segment in the mobile Internet market, and both Lenovo and Intel have invested aggressively in this area,” Liu said. The Lenovo K800 features a 4.5 inch screen with built-in wireless display technology that allows displays from the phone to be projected to other screens.

Intel has long had its eye on the growing mobile market but has struggled to compete in a mobile chip marketplace dominated by mobile chip designer ARM Holdings.

During its struggle to define its place in this segment, however, Otellini said the company shifted from its goal of building “the best engine inside a mobile device” to creating “full system capability,” resulting in the Intel smartphone reference design.

In a prototype design of a phone built on this system, Otellini demonstrated the capabilities the new reference design could potentially bring to manufacturers in building devices with high computing and battery performance.

Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha also came on stage to voice his support for Intel’s mobile vision, and announced a “multi-year, multi-device strategic partnership” with the chip manufacturer, beginning with the first shipment of Intel’s Atom-based chips in the second half of this year.

Beyond the changes Intel chips can bring to consumer electronic devices, Otellini also sees Intel technology as a foundation for bringing fundamental changes to industries such as retail shopping.

“The biggest transformations will happen at the intersections of the virtual and the physical world,” Otellini said.

Using fashion retailer Adidas as an example, Otellini and Adidas’ global marketing executive Chris Aubrey demonstrated how consumers could engage with a virtual “wall” of shoes. By tapping on images of the shoes on a life-size touch screen, consumers could bring up product videos of different models as well as follow the social buzz online through channels like Twitter feeds and Facebook comments from an individual’s social graph. Aubrey said this had led to five times more sales.

Otellini rounded out Intel’s vision for the future of computing and consumer engagement with Ultrabooks, one of the key themes that have emerged from CES this year.

This ultralight form of laptops feature Intel’s latest low-power processors, and are meant to primarily target a marketplace currently dominated by Apple’s MacBook Air.

However, Otellini sees the potential for the Ultrabook to evolve beyond a lighter, more portable version of a laptop, and revealed a prototype designed to be a kind of laptop/tablet hybrid.

Embodying characteristics found in both laptops and tablets, such as a touch screen and a hideaway keyboard, Otellini and his team see devices like these as critical mediums in helping consumers define personalized user experiences.

“It’s really about the device adapting to us, and not the other way around,” he said.

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