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IDF keynote: from stylish wearables to wireless laptop charging

Elias Plastiras | Sept. 11, 2014
In the opening keynote at IDF today, Intel showed off wearable tech, Internet of Things boards, wireless charging, and it introduced the 2015 version of the Core processor, codenamed Skylake.

Pricing starts at $US50 for the board, though there are also Arduino and breakout kits available. Intel hopes that aggressive pricing will make it easier for smaller developers to use this platform to implement their ideas and get their products to market.

Much love for PCs

The keynote was a to-the-point affair that enthusiastically highlighted the current wearable technology trend and the proliferation of connected devices, but there was also plenty on offer in the PC space.

The company's 14 nanometre, 5th generation CPUs are now in "volume production", with the Core M being the first cab off the rank for tablets and hybrids, and with the rest of the 5th generation family (Core i3, i5, and i7) on track for availability in the first quarter of 2015.

More impressively, Intel showed a working sample of its next microarchitecture on the 14-nanometre process, which is codenamed Skylake. Not surprisingly, Intel said we should expect a significant improvement in performance, battery life, and power efficiency. Production for Skylake is scheduled for the second half of 2015.

The 2015 version of the Core processor, codenamed Skylake, seen here running 3DMark.

Eliminating wires and passwords

By the end of next year, Intel will have a reference design for PCs that eliminates the need for any cables, be it for docking or charging. If that sounds too good to be true, then you will be happy to know that Intel showed products proving these concepts, using Wireless Gigabit (WiGig) for docking, and dynamic resonance for wireless charging.

The demonstration consisted of a wireless charger installed in a wooden table with a 2in top, and a group of LEDs passing over it to show where the 'hot spot' for charging was located. On this hot spot, all sorts of gadgets can be charged, as long as they are equipped with a retro-fitted case, but the most impressive thing is that a next generation laptop was shown charging wirelessly on this spot.

Using a board of LEDs to find the 'hot spot' for the wireless charger.

Intel's vision for this wireless charging technology is to make it ubiquitous for all devices, and for the chargers to be not only in the form of pads, but also pre-installed in furniture or even at cafes and airports.

From cutting wires, to cuting out passwords: Intel said that it's aiming to eradicate the use of passwords, too, beginning in 2015. It wants you to become the password, meaning using your face and biometrics to access not only your computer, but also the Web sites you frequent.


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