Intel: Make PCs Simpler

Intel's answer is the Easy PC Initiative, developed with Microsoft to promote PCs that are easier to set up, use, expand, and maintain. But it's still too tough, Steve Whalley, Intel's ease of use initiative manager, told a sometimes-hostile crowd of developers at the Intel Developer Forum here.

Whalley chided PC manufacturers for delivering systems that require operating system configuration and repeated reboots right out of the box. He decried the practice of cluttering the desktop with too many confusing program icons. He even questioned why vendors seem to use so much plastic wrap and twist ties when they package a new PC.

And then he detailed some goals for vendors to improve PCs over the next two years.

Get (More) Graphical

The fewer steps a consumer must take--from opening the box to running a PC--the better, Whalley says. Vendors need to make PCs easy to get out of the box, they must provide easy and clear setup instructions (with matching pictures), they should color-code cables, and they must eliminate the need to reboot during the initial setup because it scares new users, he says. And hardware should be reliable; it should "just work," according the slogan of the Easy PC Initiative.

Vendors should preload software, eliminate any confusing DOS-based applications, and make often-used features easier to access, Whalley says.

"Pay attention to what users are doing with their PCs, and if they're checking their e-mail, put a button [for that] on the keyboard," he says.

It will be easier to add peripherals when PCs are free of internal slots and conventional serial and parallel external ports, Whalley adds. He says a good PC has plenty of USB ports in front and in back.

For easier maintenance, updates to the BIOS, drivers, and virus protection should be automatic, he says. Hard drive clean-up tools should be built in, and Web-based support should be standard.

Easier Said Than Done

Numerous audience members took Whalley to task on some of his suggestions. Some shook their heads at his comments; others spoke up, arguing that some of the goals are too difficult or expensive. Others noted that software needs to improve, too.

Difficult or not, these changes are necessary for PCs to be more widely adopted, an unfazed Whalley pointed out.

Recent products from Compaq and Dell are headed in the right direction, he says. During the conference, Intel gave the Compaq Presario EZ2000 and the Dell WebPC its Innovate PC Recognition Award for being easy to set up and use, as well as attractive.

Ease of use is important, but increasingly, so are aesthetics, Whalley says. "Style counts," he adds.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Tom Mainelli

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?