Intel E_phasis is on Power

(The headline is not a mistake – Intel put posters everywhere showing words with the “m” missing. Or should that be _issing?)

The Intel press event started with a video celebrating the German world cup win and IFA. I’m sure that local journalists enjoyed it, but I wasn’t convinced!

Jens Heithecker is the IFA Executive Director and he said that there was a time when it looked as though the IT companies would take over the TV business. But it didn’t happen. However, even TVs need big processors with low power consumption – I’m not quite sure what point he was really trying to make!

Kirk Skaugen is Senior VP and General Manager of the PC Client group at Intel and this was really his event.

The Internet of Things (IOT) is a big opportunity and is growing at around 17% per year growth. Automotive will be a big market for Intel, with car makers going down from 300 processors in a car to just five or six. Fewer, bigger, chips clearly plays to Intel’s strengths.

Even relatively simple systems may benefit from significant computing power. Skaugen showed a coffee vending machine from Costa that is using a full core i7 processor. It offers remote diagnostics with a 15 minute cycle for reporting data on sales and operations to its base.

Intel is working on sports earbuds and will introduce new wearable products under the Mica brand. The brand is being launched at Fashion Week in New York, shortly. After the acquisition of Infineon’s communication business in Germany (which has given Intel a lot of new engineering power since the acquisition in 2010), Intel believes it has the smallest 3G modem in the world, allowing integrated modems in wearables.

A couple of years ago, Intel was not in the tablet chip business, by Skaugen’s own admission, but it now has 200 design wins, he said and is on track for its goal of 40 million shipments this year. It is heavily behind LTE wireless technology and is one of only two companies with 300Mbps/Cat6 LTE, he claimed.

The desktop is “alive and well”, he continued. There is a huge diversity in PC form factors from NUCs (New Units of Computing) to high end gaming platforms. Intel has worked to develop touch-enabled large screen AIOs with games such as Scrabble and Monopoly and Skaugen is very optimistic that electronic versions of traditional games will be popular on flat-mounted AIOs. PC gaming has been bigger than console game play, since 2012, he claimed.

Games players were then impressed as he showed the latest version of Tomb Raider running on three large UltraHD monitors at more than 60fps. It certainly looked good, although I didn’t wait round long enough for the crowd to disperse to look closely.

Mobile gaming is growing fast and Intel is launching Iris Graphics and IrisPro Graphics for mobile PCs. Skaugen said that Intel is “Re-inventing the ultrabook” – touch was added in 2012 as a feature.

Consumers are Frustrated

Intel’s consumer surveys suggest that there is frustration at tablets and notebooks both being needed. There has been something missing? Intel thinks the missing piece is the new Core M processor – the first new 4.5W CPU. It’s a dual core device with 1.3 billion transistors. It will be used in notebooks and convertibles – there have already been 20 designs from 5 OEMs. The M processor uses Intel’s 14nm technology and has “double the performance of a PC from 4 years ago”. The low power usage of the chip allows fanless designs and Skaugen claims that systems have seven times the graphics power for PCs from four years ago (I wouldn’t be surprised, Intel’s graphics chips were well off the pace, although they have been getting better more recently – Man. Ed.)

Skaugen claims that the M provides an improvement of 3X in tablets graphics and 2X in CPU power compared to “current tablets” (the comparison was with “the best” Qualcomm CPUs).

New systems using the M, were shown – there was an Asus Transformer Book T300FA, a very thin convertible. due to sell at