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Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Intel CEO Unveils Products, Initiatives and Collaborations for
More Wearable Devices
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich at CES outlined a range of products, initiatives and relationships aimed at accelerating innovation
across a range of mobile and wearable devices as well as
individual inventors' own connected creations.
Krzanich's keynote painted a vision of how the landscape of
computing is being re-shaped and where security is too
important not to have it embedded in all devices. As examples,
he highlighted several technologies that Intel will begin
offering this year. For example, the company is bringing human
senses to Intel-based devices in a new family of hardware and
software products called Intel RealSense technology.
Intel's CEO also discussed how Intel is addressing data and
device security and conflict minerals from the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (DRC). He said Intel had achieved a
critical milestone and the minerals used in microprocessor
silicon and packages manufactured in Intel's factories are
"conflict-free" as concluded by third-party audits or direct
validation by Intel's supply chain organization.
"Two years ago, I told several colleagues that we needed a hard
goal, a commitment to reasonably conclude that the metals used
in our microprocessors are conflict-free," Krzanich said. "We
felt an obligation to implement changes in our supply chain to
ensure that our business and our products were not
inadvertently funding human atrocities in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo. Even though we have reached this
milestone, it is just a start. We will continue our audits and
resolve issues that are found."
Krzanich said Intel is actively pursuing a range of products
and initiatives, with the goal of accelerating wearable device
innovation. Intel's approach to this next evolution in
computing is to imagine and create reference design devices and
platforms ready for use by customers in developing wearable
products, he said.
Intel's CEO highlighted number of wearable reference devices,
including smart earbuds that provide biometric and fitness
capabilities, a smart headset that is always ready to engage
and can integrate with existing personal assistant technologies
and a smart wireless charging bowl.
Intel has developed a reference design for a hands
-free, smart headset that is always ready to engage and can
integrate with existing personal assistant technologies.
The fully integrated compute system is housed in a Bluetooth
earpiece with a battery, speaker and microphones featuring
Intel- developed firmware and software. It provides all-
day battery life and is designed to be comfortable enough to
be worn all day.
The Intel smart headset reference design uses Sensory's low
power, always-listening voice recognition technology. The CES
technology demonstration showcased the following capabilities:
- Oneshot - This feature allows the user to speak without pausing
after being prompted. For example, the user can ask a question
and get a response in one shot versus waiting for the personal
assistant to respond to the initial inquiry.
- Barge-in - This feature allows the user to stop the personal
assistant from speaking by double tapping the smart
headset or using a key phrase to stop it.
- Polite notification - Using on-board sensors, this feature
keeps track of the user's current situation and can determine
the best time to provide information, without interrupting.
Intel has also developed a reference design for a smart
wireless charging bowl. The reference design complements
Intel's smart headset, helping to make charging more
convenient. Simply drop the smart headset into the smart
wireless charging bowl and it will begin to recharge.
The smart wireless charging bowl with stand is approximately
10 inches in diameter.
The reference design is capable of charging multiple devices
simultaneously without exact alignment or placement. This
is a key benefit of magnetic resonance technology,
which is the foundation for the A4WP industry
Intel is developing wireless charging technology to deliver "
nowires" convenience across a broad range of mobile devices
(e.g. headsets, phones, tablets, Ultrabooks and 2 in
1s) all based on the A4WP industry specification that
Intel is helping to develop.
The Intel CEO also announced collaborations with Barneys New
York, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Opening
Ceremony to explore and bring to market new smart wearable
technologies, and to increase dialogue and cooperation between
the fashion and technology industries. He also kicked-off the
Intel 'Make it Wearable' challenge, a global effort aimed at
accelerating creativity with technology. The effort will call
upon creative minds to consider factors impacting the
proliferation of wearable devices and ubiquitous computing,
such as meaningful usages, aesthetics, battery life, security
In addition to developing reference devices for wearable
technology, Intel will offer a number of accessible, low-cost
entry platforms. These are aimed at helping lower entry
barriers for individuals and small companies to create
Internet-connected wearables or other small form factor
Underscoring this point, Krzanich announced Intel Edison, a new
Intel Quark technology-based computer housed in an SD card form
factor with built-in wireless capabilities and support for
multiple operating systems. From prototype to production, Intel
Edison will enable product development by a range of inventors,
entrepreneurs and consumer product designers when available
Intel Edison is based on 22nm Intel Quark technology for ultra
-small and low power-sensitive, Internet of Things edge
devices, smart consumer products and wearable computing. The
product features an Intel processor and microcontroller core.
The programmable microcontroller helps manage I/Os and other
baseline functions, while the x86 compatible processor core
brings Linux support and enables multiple operating systems to
run high-level user applications. The small compute package
brings connectivity with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE, and has LPDDR2
and NAND flash storage as well as a wide array of flexible and
expandable I/O capabilities.
"Wearables are not everywhere today because they aren't yet
solving real problems and they aren't yet integrated with our
lifestyles," said Krzanich. "We're focused on addressing this
engineering innovation challenge. Our goal is, if something
computes and connects, it does it best with Intel inside."
Krzanich also unveiled the Intel Security brand, which will
identify Intel products and services in the security segment,
and disclosed plans to transition McAfee products to the Intel
Security brand while retaining the familiar red shield.
"The complexity of keeping digital identities safe grows as
mobile applications and devices become a more important part of
our daily lives," Krzanich said. "Intel's intent is to
intensify our efforts dedicated to making the digital world
more secure, and staying ahead of threats to private
information on mobile and wearable devices."
Krzanich announced that Intel plans to offer elements of
McAfee's security solutions for mobile devices for free. These
data and device protection solutions help guard today's most
popular mobile devices, including Apple iPhone, Apple iPad and
As corporate "bring-your-own-device" programs have grown in
popularity, many firms have prohibited Android-based devices
that weren't compatible with their companies' security
requirements. Intel Security this year will offer Intel Device
Protection technology, which will help Intel-based Android
mobile devices meet most security standards for use at home and
The DRC has been plagued for years by regional conflict.
According to a report to the United Nations Security Council
Committee, a source of funding violence for armed groups
includes the trade of mineral products from the DRC. Some of
these so-called "conflict minerals" are in many kinds of
products, including electronics.
Intel has implemented a process within its supply chain
organization to validate that its sources - the smelters that
provide tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold used in microprocessor
silicon and packages manufactured in Intel factories - are not
inadvertently funding this conflict in the DRC. Krzanich
challenged the entire electronics industry to join Intel in its