Intel Developer Forum: 10 Things The Channel Needs To Know

Looking Ahead

Intel moved the ball forward for its channel partners at this year's Intel Developer Forum 2014 with the release of new Xeon processors, the debut of an IoT-friendly micro-computer platform to drive new data center business, and news of wireless charging and docking technology to be released in early 2015.

Here is a look at the top 10 IDF 2014 news items that will impact channel partners in the year ahead.

Chips Are Up For Partners

Unveiled on Monday, Intel's Data Center Group General Manager Diane Bryant showed off the Haswell-based E5-2600 v3 and E5-1600 v3 processors.

Bryant said that the processors will be used in servers, workstations, storage and networking infrastructure to power workloads, such as data analytics, high-performance computing, telecommunications and cloud-based services.

Customization Key In The Data Center

Customization is key to Intel's new family of Xeon processors, said Bryant. The chip will be the back-end workhorse for driving compute-intensive tasks, such as separating the wheat from the chaff with the Internet of Things, she said. The E5-2600 v3 gives developers a common base for compute, storage and network-related workloads in the data center, Bryant said.

Intel's latest Xeon processor comes in 32 SKUs and an additional 20 custom SKUs designed for customers and their specific workload needs.

Internet Of Things Huge Data Center Driver

The Internet of Things (IoT) will drive the market for big data. Pictured here are IDF attendees looking at Intel's interactive IoT table, where the chip-maker showed how autonomous smart sensors placed around a city can keep tabs on everything from air quality, traffic, power consumption and noise pollution.

Intel's IoT Smart City demonstration is meant to underscore how sensors can gather and report information to Intel-powered data centers to help companies and municipalities be more efficient and greener.

"The big data market is growing at 35 percent a year. It's projected to be a $150 billion business from silicon systems, software [and] professional services by 2020," Bryant said.

Core M System Flood On Its Way

While Intel's Core M processors were announced last week at the German tradeshow IFA (which stands for Internationale Funkausstellung), they created huge buzz at IDF. Intel executives said dual-core 14nm Intel Core M, which is a fanless chip based on 14nm architecture, will increase the performance of 2-in-1 convertible, detachable laptops and tablets.

The chip is generally available today and will be powering a fleet of devices by the holiday buying season.

Intel Teases Its Next-Gen Mobile Chip

Intel showed off the first PC containing a next-generation chip based on the upcoming Skylake 14-nanometer architecture.

Kirk Skaugen, general manager of Intel's PC Client Group (pictured here), demonstrated a desktop PC operating on a Skylake chip running 4K video and said the processor would deliver a significant increase in performance, battery life and power efficiency. Skylake also is expected to enable wireless charging and data streaming between PCs, Skaugen said. The chip is expected to be available to developers in the first half of 2015.

Next NUC To Feature Business-Friendly Features

Intel's upcoming pint-sized PC, called NUC or Next Unit of Computing, was shown at IDF. With this model, the NUC D4I5MYK, Intel will have definite appeal to channel partners with integrated vPro remote management controls and Trusted Platform Module support.

This latest model sports a Broadwell-U derivative, a 15-watt dual-core chip, which is a step up from the previous Core i5-4250U ’Haswell’ processor models. The device on display had four USB 3.0 ports (two in front and two in back), a Mini HDMI and Mini DisplayPort video output, and a SATA data port.

Intel Goes Big With 3-D Camera Tech

At IDF, Intel pushed its RealSense technology hard, touting it as a revolutionary force for both consumer and business PCs, laptops and tablets. The RealSense technology will be integrated in a bevy of Intel devices and, Intel said, will change the way we interact with our digital devices and the world around us. The technology will allow Intel-powered gear to "recognize" a face and will support gesture controls for navigating a PC.

Intel said the advanced image technology also will drive new augmented reality applications, and new applications for capturing 3-D images, and will use just a camera to accurately map environments.

RealSense: Real Business Opportunity For VARs

RealSense technology, Intel said, can scan faces and objects (seen in image) and capture accurate dimensional data that can be used later to create 3-D models for applications such as 3-D printers or creating schematics on the fly. Intel said once object data is captured, a user will be able to naturally manipulate and play with scanned 3-D objects using Intel's hand- and finger-sensing technology.

Wireless Docking, Charging And Display Tech

In the months ahead, Intel said it will turn up the heat on its wire-free PC initiative, and officially launch several wireless technologies that support wireless displays and WiGig wireless docking stations. Seen in the image here is a laptop that is mirroring both its image and its ports to a small black box. The wireless display technology, called WiDi, supports 4K video, Intel said.

Wire-free technology will be available by early 2015, Intel said. But company representatives said that by mid-2015, the wireless technology will be baked in to Skylake PCs. By that time, Intel hopes, wireless charging also will be included. The channel opportunity, Intel executives said, are huge as cord clutter is top on the list of business annoyances.

Smartphone SoFIA Launch Time Line

SoFIA, Intel's upcoming mobile smartphone chip, is on track to ship later this year with integrated 3G radio technology, and early next year with a LTE version. Intel said it has about a half dozen phone manufacturers set to adopt its SoFIA chips.

Looking beyond SoFIA, Intel said it is developing new 22-nanometer chip technology, named Moorefield and Merrifield. Longer-range, Intel said it is developing a new Atom processor, code-named Broxton, that will be aimed at high-end smartphones in the 2016 time frame.

Expect An Intel-Inside Tablet Deluge With Dell Leading Charge

Michael Dell joined Intel CEO Brian Krzanich to tease his upcoming Dell Venue 8 7000 Series tablet that will have Intel's RealSense Snapshot Camera built in. In this implantation of Intel's RealSense technology, Dell has created a depth-enabled photography app. The technology, similar to Lytro, allows a user to take a picture and then later manipulate the image by changing its focal point using the RealSense app.

Intel said it's on track to sell 40 million tablets by the end of 2014, and has said it was relying on channel partners to sell one-third of those Intel-powered tablets.