Intel says more PC innovation is on the way

Chip maker has six prototypes that it is discussing with OEMs

Intel expects to see more innovation in PC design in the next year than there has been since the mid-1990s. That's the take of Navin Shenoy, Intel vice president and general manager, who is focused on thin and lightweight ultrabooks and hybrid laptops with detachable screens that fold back and convert into tablets.

Those designs are a far cry from the thick, heavy and fairly static laptop designs that the industry produced for years.

Intel's Gary Richman shows North Cape, a prototype of a hybrid laptop/tablet that has 13 hours of battery life.

"When we started the whole ultrabook push, the fundamental reason was to get innovation flowing in a rapid fashion in the PC industry," Shenoy told Computerworld in an interview at the International CES show in Las Vegas. "Year after year after year, we had those kind of thicker machines. We had incremental advances, but I expect to see more innovation in the next 12 months than we had in the last 18 years."

Today, the industry is creating some buzz with hybrid machines --- equal parts laptop and tablet.

Gary Richman, Intel's director of marketing, showed a detachable hybrid prototype designed to run Intel's upcoming fourth generation Core chip that has 13 hours of battery life. The computer, codenamed North Cape, has batteries in the base of the machine, as well as in the detachable tablet.

Used as a laptop, the device has 13 hours of battery life. However, if the tablet is detached and used separately, it can run for 10 hours without a recharge. At that point, it can be reattached to the base and used either as a laptop or to recharge the tablet.

There are six of these prototypes, Richman said, and Intel is only starting to discuss them with PC makers this week at CES.

While neither Richman nor Shenoy would admit that the PC industry has been struggling, despite quarter after quarter of sagging reports about the market, they did say they think hybrid computers will be a stolid boost for the industry.

Ultrabook sales in 2012 were less than analysts had expected, but Intel remains positive about future sales, especially for hybrid ultrabooks, over the next several years.

"How important are they? Very," Richman said. "We're investing in this, and we're encouraging OEMs to bring these systems to market... Hybrids and convertibles are definitely an area that can create excitement for the PC category and drive sales."

Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said the PC market is going through a period of exciting innovation and it couldn't come at a better time.

"Much of this innovation is being fueled by the huge competitive pressure on laptops from tablets and even smartphones," he said. "The vendors who rely on the laptop ecosystem for a big chunk of their business are being forced to innovate to defend their turf... This could serve to increase PC sales or to at least stop the bleeding."

Shenoy, said he doesn't believe the demand for tablets has hurt laptop sales as much as the lack of innovation around them has.

"The reason people haven't been upgrading their existing notebooks or desktops is because there hasn't been a compelling reason to do so," Shenoy said. "Innovation is crucial to get people to buy notebooks again. People will upgrade when they see something compelling. These new designs - with touch, they're lighter, have better battery life -- all of these things will get people buying."

Want more on CES? See our Complete coverage of CES 2013 .

Follow our staffers live from CES in Las Vegas through Jan. 11 on Twitter @Computerworld/CES or via our live blog from CES. Or, subscribe to our CES RSS feed.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is

See more by Sharon Gaudin on

Read more about processors in Computerworld's Processors Topic Center.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags hardware systemsdesktop pcsComponentstabletsLenovoprocessorsintelPCsIntel Corpces2013

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.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on PC World

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.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?