At day two of IDF, Intel’s officially announced Bay Trail, showed off reference designs for 3D camera equipped Ultrabooks and discussed mobile computing at length, a sign of how important it sees the category.
Intel is a company that’s all about silicon, and as Ulmont Smith noted at the start of the second day of IDF 2013 in San Francisco, for a long time that meant desktop CPUs using high wattage power. Today, though, Intel is eyeing off the mobile market with its recently announced Quark lines, and the announcement of Bay Trail, the latest Atom processor pitched at devices that need to be low power above all with reasonable performance. Bay Trail will run both Windows and Android operating systems.
Bay Trail will come in three types; Bay Trail-T — more formally known as the Intel Atom Processor Z3000 series — is for tablets, while Bay Trail-M and Bay Trail-D are for entry level devices including laptops and desktops, but they won’t be labelled as Atom systems; instead they’ll be branded as either Pentium or Celeron lines.
The issue with Atom for a long time has been that balance between power consumption — which has generally been quite good — and performance, which is where a lot of Atom systems have left consumers wanting. Intel didn’t talk much today about Bay Trail-M or Bay Trail-D, but the claim with Bay Trail-T is that it’ll allow for more than 10 hours of battery life and three weeks standby time, while offering double the performance of the previous generation — ‘Clover Trail’ — products.
BMW’s i8 Hybrid apparently also has an atom cpu inside — to assist with navigation duties — although whether it’s a Bay Trail processor wasn’t made entirely clear.
Intel also used the keynote to show off a number of designs from third parties; Asus’ Jerry Shen took the stage to show off a Bay Trail tablet — the Asus T100 — with a claimed 11 hour battery life.
Dell’s Neil Hand announced the Dell Venue, a family of tablets that’ll launch in early October with 4G/LTE connectivity. There was also considerable time given over to two-in-one convertible products, although here there appeared to be a mix of Atom and Core lines.
Having launched Ultrabooks, Intel’s next big push will be for 2-in-1 devices — convertibles, in other words — and they were keen to stress the possibilities for these devices to be used for both consumption and creation — which is, to be honest, a very common tune to play when talking hybrids.
One of the issues with these kinds of hybrids is that while Windows 8 is touch enabled, a lot of PC software isn’t. Intel showed off a number of concepts around context sensitive apps that switch user interfaces depending on the usage model; in one scenario Skyrim was run first in a laptop configuration, then switched to full tablet with an overlay UI for game controls. It’s probably not the optimal way to play Skyrim — but I’ve got to admit that I do rather want to play it that way right now.
A fashion demonstration showed virtual shopping including a realistically rendered catwalk for clothing; the idea is that rather than buy clothes online and return them when they didn’t fit, by securely storing your measurements and a headshot on your mobile device, you can then realistically render clothes on your body prior to purchase to get a better idea of fit.
One of the more interesting concepts shown off was Flying Hat’s Eon Alter; a cross platform fantasy game running on a core system with tablets cross system working as smaller game controllers; the idea was showing off Intel’s developer tools and how easy it is to port code across. According to Flying Hat’s Ed Douglas, the game itself is still in development and won’t be released until 2014.
Intel’s Kirk Skaugen also demonstrated Intel’s upcoming 3D-capable camera that it’ll develop for 2014 Ultrabook lines, drawing direct comparison with Microsoft’s Kinect and other existing USB-based 3D cameras. This is impressive looking stuff; although Intel only used it for a VR butterfly demo, there’s a lot of potential down the line when motion sensitive cameras get this small.
Disclaimer: Alex Kidman travelled to San Francisco as a guest of Intel