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Intel preps for its Broadwell launch, but businesses aren't waiting for the new CPUs

Mark Hachman | Aug. 8, 2014
Intel said this week that it will introduce "new products" at the IFA 2014 conference in Berlin this September. The company is being coy about the specifics of what it will announce, but all signs are pointing to Intel's next generation of Core microprocessors, code-named "Broadwell."

And what are they buying? In general, businesses are refreshing laptops with laptops. Only a "very few" are replacing laptops with tablets, Garrison said. Instead, tablets have become companion devices for selected vertical industries. What Garrison and Intel hope will happen, however, is that those customers will begin buying hybrids or two-in-ones, where the display can pop out and become a tablet.

The fact that businesses aren't waiting to turn over their PC inventory puts Intel in something of a quandary, as the company hopes to push customers toward a new wire-free world. By 2016, Intel hopes that all PCs will be designed without wires. In Intel's vision, wireless connections will push video to displays and connect peripherals. Computers will even wirelessly recharge themselves. 

Intel rolled out its wireless display capability in the consumer market, and "it is just about to roll out in the corporate space," Garrison said. Eventually, wireless display tech could be connected to vPro, the enterprise-management technologies that Intel builds into chipsets for business PCs.

These are all interesting developments, but if businesses are buying new computers right now, it could be quite a while before millions of office workers begin living in Intel's wireless world.

Wireless displays as a security platform

Intel has also been prioritizing platform-level security, tapping into the McAfee expertise it acquired in 2011 for about $7.7 billion. Most interestingly, wireless displays could become part of this initiative. Garrison said wireless display communication will be split into two channels: one directly to the display, and one connected to the LAN to be used to authenticate the stream.

"You can imagine from a technical standpoint, it's a very challenging technical environment," Garrison said.

Intel has not released a roadmap outlining how its wire-free technologies will be rolled out. But they won't necessarily be tied to the Skylake platform, the successor to Broadwell that's due sometime in 2015. Intel has also hinted that it will eventually tie its Atom chips to its vPro technologies as well. Intel's "Bay Trail" Atom chips can power Windows and Android tablets, and the next-generation "Cherry Trail" should ship before the end of the year.

Garrison wouldn't commit, however, to rolling out a vPro-enabled tablet for businesses. "We will have a whole category of innovation around what makes a good business tablet, making those manageable and secure," he said.


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