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!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

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


Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >



Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >


Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?