RealSense

Why Innovation Waits for Nobody, Stops for Nothing

Ken Kaplan Executive Editor, iQ by Intel

A new wave of shiny computing gadgets was revealed in Taiwan this week, proving once again that everything seems to be getting better, faster and sleeker. But these smartphones, phablets, tablets, 2 in 1 and other computing devices, more than ever before, are being designed from the outside in for a new, integrated and interconnected world.

This world sprang to life in Taipei at Computex, the largest computing trade show in Asia, attracting over 130,000 attendees from around the world.

New computing technologies shown for the first time were designed for people who want to connect their devices together seamlessly – even without wires — but also use them to connect to other “Internet things” sprouting up in the world, from smart city services to technology enhanced shopping experiences.

On stage at Computex, Intel President Renee James pointed to proof, one smart connected device after the other, that the next era of computing is upon us.

She said it won’t be about just one form factor or device to rule them all. Instead, all kinds of devices will connected to each other and to the cloud.

“In five years’ time I don’t think we’ll be talking about PCs versus tablets,” she said.

We’re going to see a blending of these and possibly other types of computing device.

While the death of the PC has been bandied about for decades, James said that time and again the computer industry has reinvent itself. The PC’s death remains greatly exaggerated.

Prior to becoming president of Intel in May 2013, James lead Intel’s Software and Services Group, dubbed by Forbes Magazine as the biggest software company you’ve never heard of. Fortune Magazine named her one of the top 50 most powerful women in business.

Throughout her 25 years at Intel, including a stint as technical assistant to Intel’s third CEO Andy Grove, she has also heard experts predicting the death of Moore’s Law, the observation that the number of transistors on a chip double roughly every two years.

James told the Computex crowd that the end of Moore’s Law remains out of sight.

“Today we have 14 nanometer and we can see our way to 10 nanometer,” James said. That’s the size of next generation transistors, which are much smaller than today’s tiny transistors that measure 22 nanometers. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.

These microscopic engines will power energy efficient processors used for everything from smartphones, tablets, personal and server computers and more, like future wearable devices, robots and just about anything that computes and connects to the Internet.

She held up an Intel processor, the world’s first made with 14-nanometer manufacturing. It will be used to create a new line of Intel Core M processors available later this year.

“It’s the most energy efficient processor in Intel’s history,” said James.

To show what the Intel Core M processor was designed for, James showed a 7.2 millimeters thick prototype tablet codenamed Llama Mountain. It weighed 672 grams and docks to a keyboard to become a laptop.

Asus Chairman Jonney Shih joined James and showed a very thin, detachable Transformer Book T300 Chi, which will be among the first to use the Intel Core M chip. The Taipei and Fremont, Calif. based device maker is a design trendsetter for a variety new devices, including its recent ZenFone line of smartphones.

James made the first phone call on a smartphone built with Intel’s forthcoming system-on-a-chip codenamed SoFIA. She pointed out that that the dual core chip will be manufactured by nearby chip manufacturing foundry, TSMC. SoFIA will have integrated 3G and starts shipping to phone makers by the end of this year. A quad-core and 4G LTE versions shipping in the first half of next year.

Young Liu, an executive at New Taipei based device manufacturer Foxconn, joined James and showed nearly a dozen tablets available now or coming soon, adding to up to the 130 Intel-based tablets, running Android or Windows, will are expected to be on the market by the end of this year.

Based on recent field research conducted by Intel in many parts of the world, people want devices that function more intuitively and on their terms. James said Intel RealSense technology, including 3-D cameras and voice recognition software, is allowing developers to create natural user interfaces like voice and gesture control. To get more developers involved, James kicked off the $1 Million Intel RealSense App Challenge 2014, which begins in the next month or two.

As this blending and morphing of technology quickens, James told the crowd that this could bring “significant growth, if not a doubling, of what was just known as the PC business.”

That’s the spirit and ambition that has made Asia-Pacific a leader in technology innovation for decades.

The region is quickly evolving its world leading computer design and manufacturing expertise into new areas of smart devices and the Internet of Things. Taiwan and others in the region have the opportunity to bring seamlessly connected and integrated world of computing to more people and places around the world. Many for the first time.

“Innovation waits for nobody, and stops for nothing,” James said.

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