Intel Developer Forum: Windows 10, Skylake Form A 'Unique' Union To Bolster PC Sales

Intel on Wednesday offered deeper details on how its newest sixth-generation 14nm processor architecture, Skylake, will work hand-in-hand with Microsoft's newly released operating system, Windows 10.

Partners have long awaited to hear details of how Windows 10, released July 29, would work in tandem with Skylake in security, computing experience and performance to drive upgrades in a sluggish PC market.

"The launch of Windows 10 last month marked 21 years of an extremely deep collaboration between these two companies," said Shiv Kaushik, general manager of Windows Operating System Division at Intel, during the Intel Developer Forum. "Building Windows Intel devices that are energy-efficient, sleek, secure, and that deliver a great battery life, requires an extremely tight collaboration between the software and the hardware ... between Microsoft and Intel."

[Related: Intel CEO Outlines Company Future Surrounding Smart Devices, Secure IoT Applications]

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Kaushik said the launch of the two products marked a "unique" opportunity to create the best joint Windows OS and Skylake architecture computing experience.

In terms of computing experience, Windows 10's voice assistant, Cortana, utilizes Skylake's enhanced CPU processing audio pipeline to achieve accurate Correct Accept and low False Support performance as part of its keyword spotter functionality.

Skylake's sixth-generation platform also supports hardware offload for voice activation with hardware support. That works well with another new feature of Windows 10, Windows Hello, which integrates biometric authentication in devices to enable facial or fingerprint login capabilities. Intel's RealSense camera F200 solution also supports this biometric authentication, said Kaushik, and adds an extra layer of security to Windows Hello by measuring the incorrect acceptance of an unauthorized user as well as antispoofing detection.

The Intel-Skylake marriage drives more security in the operating system, as well, said Kaushik. Intel's platforms provide virtualization capabilities that are critical for isolation, which improves Windows 10 security through LSA credential isolation.

In addition, Skylake contains Kernel Mode Code Integrity (KMCI) enforcement features, checking each kernel-mode driver for a digital signature. On the server side, Skylake contains Virtual Trusted Platform Module (TPM), which means its chips are secure crypto-processors designed to carry out cryptographic operations.

Intel and Skylake fit together to drive energy efficiency, promoting better battery life and sleek form factors. Skylake's Speed Shift technology plays into Windows 10's new Disconnected Standby, a new option for when there are no hardware-offload-capable networking or HDD-based systems.

Skylake contains wireless features, enabling a platform on portable, mobile devices, such as WiGig, Intel's Wireless Gigabit that allows for high-speed, wireless connections to docking stations.

In addition, Intel's platform includes NCM Express, a scalable host-controller interface, as well as tools like Integrated Sensor Hub and Integrated Touch that improve on the user interfaces on mobile platforms.

Intel's Skylake also enables USB Type-C ports, a next-generation solution for fast-charging, display and peripheral connectivity on a single cable and connector, which promotes Windows 10's Continuum feature to allow the OS to run on tablets and 2-in-1s.

While many of the keynotes at Intel Developer Forum focused on the Internet of Things and connected devices, Intel's 25,000 Technology Provider partners are anxious to learn more about what new solutions Skylake and Windows 10 will jointly bring to the table to drive upgrades in the sluggish PC market.

Dominic Daninger, vice president of engineering at Nor-Tech, a Burnsville, Minn.-based Intel custom system builder partner, said he expects his business will reap the benefits of the combined new features of both Skylake and Windows 10.

"I have to say that I've been impressed with the Windows 10 operating system. It seems like Microsoft finally got it right," he said. "We will likely see some small bump in business from product releases like a new Intel processor and a new Microsoft operating system."

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told Wall Street analysts during Intel's first-quarter earnings call, in April, that he expects the PC market to decline at a mid-single-digit rate in 2015 as potential customers with PCs that are older than five years wait for the new joint improvements of Skylake and Intel to come to market before upgrading.