Intel Solutions Summit: 10 Blockbuster Technologies To Boost Business

Products That 'Drive Business'

From mobile processors and Next Unit Computing (NUCs) systems to wireless charging and the Compute Stick, Intel is showing off its latest and greatest at the Intel Solutions Summit partner conference this week in Dallas.

Laura Crone, Vice President of Intel's Client Computing Group, said the wave of innovative products is aimed at driving partners to refresh the installed base of 600 million client devices that are four years and older.

"I think the backdrop of all of this is how do we drive refresh, how do we drive business? [We want to give] a great reason to go out and talk to customers … and enable our channel partners to have a compelling story of why these folks need to refresh," said Crone.

Following are 10 cutting-edge technologies to boost business that are being featured this week.

10. Building Momentum In Tablets

So far, a small group of tablet vendors such as Dell, Asus, Lenovo and Acer have embraced Intel's Atom line of CPUs, such as the power-efficient Atom Z3740D processor.

During ISS, Crone said, Intel will continue charging ahead in the tablet market by discussing developments with its new Atom x3 processor, as well as its 14nm Atom x5, and x7 System on a Chip (SoC) family. She said partners will be able to take advantage of Master Reference Designs (MRDs) from Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers.

"We have quite a bit of momentum going in the tablet space," Crone said. "[We're looking at] a lot of momentum in the China tech ecosystem and bringing those Master Reference Designs (MRDs) to the China and Taiwan ecosystem so [partners] can hit time-to-market, cost-relevance-by-segment, type of tablets, to market with much better quality."

9. Intel's Big Play For 2-In-1s

The new wave of 2-in-1 devices is opening up big opportunities for partners, said Crone. "2-in-1s … are the other big opportunity that we see on the mobile side of the business," Crone said.

Intel's fifth-generation Core and Core M processors, designed for performance and portability, are the company's strongest processors in 2-in-1 products.

According to Intel's quarterly surveys, consumers purchasing 2-in-1s are refreshing a year earlier than the typical notebook customer, due to a desire for better consumption capabilities.

In addition, roughly 54 percent of consumers were considering a tablet when they went into their purchase, but ultimately settled on a 2-in-1.

8. SoFIA -- Low Cost Atom Processors

Partners will have the opportunity to get an update on Intel's "SoFIA" low-cost, 64-bit 28nm Atom x3 SoC processors since the series' debut at the end of 2014. In the Chinese market, for instance, Crone said she has seen the Atom x3 3G and 3G-R processors popping up in a number of low-end tablets, phablets and phones.

The SoFIA Atom x3 3G and 3G-R processors are targeted at the value and entry space for Android products, so they are prevalent in low-end devices that are between $50 and $159. Meanwhile, the SoFIA 4G LTE, which will be released later in 2015, will be Windows-based.

"With SoFIA, you have one platform that can scale different screen sizes, which also helps with the MRD efficiency for the overall ecosystem," said Crone.

7. Cherry Trail Paired With Windows

Alongside SoFIA, Intel will showcase its 64-bit 14nm "Cherry Trail" SoC Atom x5 and x7 product family, designed for tablets and smaller 2-in-1 devices.

Cherry Trail succeeds Intel's Bay Trail-T platform with the Silvermont core for Android and Windows-based tablets. Since their release, the Cherry Trail processors have landed a spot in Microsoft's Surface 3 tablet, set to ship May 5.

"Cherry Trail MRDs will be Windows-based, while SoFIA will be more targeted at Android," said Crone. "While the SoFIA product family will be branded under our Atom x3, the Cherry Trail will be branded under the Atom x5 and Atom x7, creating a good-better-best scenario in tablets for our customers."

6. Sharpened Focus On Wireless Charging

Intel will be highlighting system development kits during ISS that will show how the company is creating reference designs with no wires, including wireless docking capabilities and wireless charging. Also in the spotlight is Intel Pro Wireless Display, which lets users connect from their laptops wirelessly to a TV screen or projector.

The wireless initiatives complement Intel's 14nm sixth-generation Skylake platform, which the company hopes will lead a world of cable-free PCs and other devices.

"We're starting to develop these reference designs to bring them to market and start encouraging the ecosystem to design in the no-wires world," said Crone. "We're starting to bring no-wire and wireless charging to the Skylake platform, and we're building some momentum on the integration of the user experiences into the platform."

5. 3-D NUC Custom System Printing

Intel will showcase at ISS how partners are taking advantage of 3-D printing technology to build custom parts for Intel NUCs (Next Unit of Computing).

System builders, for example, are customizing NUC lids with their own original 3-D printing designs.

"It's a wild concept and the sky is the limit there," said Joel Christensen, general manager for the Channel Innovation and Solutions Division (CISD), responsible for driving the Intel NUC and Compute Stick product to Intel’s worldwide channel partners. "We've put those 3-D files out on our website. Anyone from the individual gamers to individual system builders can grab the files, go print them and make modifications to their prototypes. It's pretty nascent in terms of people using it, but we think it can catch on."

4. Compute Stick

The Compute Stick, Intel's new device that will be sold through the channel, also is expected to be a popular product at ISS.

The 4-inch, power-efficient stick's two versions have preinstalled operating systems, either Windows 8.1 or Linux, and plug into the HDMI input of TVs and monitors to transform them into entry computers with productivity apps.

"There is absolutely a lot of partner excitement, far outstripping our expectations," said Christensen. "As usual, our customers are exceeding expectations in terms of how they're going to market with these Compute Sticks."

3. A New Look At NUC

Another hot product that Intel will showcase during ISS is the NUC (Next Unit of Computing), a product targeted for digital signage, thin client education devices, and home media and gaming solutions.

Powered by Intel's Core i5 processor, the NUC provides the ability for partners to offer replaceable lids that opens the door for system builders to customize the devices with additional functionality, including wireless charging, 4G/LTE and additional ports, such as USB 2.0, VGA and SDXC card readers.

"The channel value is huge… it's a product that represents Intel's quality," said Christensen. "It's something they can represent, that channel partners can hold up to customers and stand behind."

2. Windows 10 Excitement

Microsoft's next release of its flagship Windows software, expected to be launched in the summer, will be front and center at ISS.

Intel is working closely with Microsoft to ensure the new operating system is integrated tightly with the Intel Skylake processor.

"It's unprecedented to have our freshest processor hand in glove with [Windows] 10," said Intel Vice President and Americas General Manager C.J. Bruno (pictured). "Those don't line up perfectly every generation. It's an amazing opportunity for folks."

CIOs are also ready to embrace the Windows 10 Skylake combination. "They're communicating to us that they're really looking for a much swifter adoption of Win 10 in the enterprise than they've experienced with previous OSes," he said. "That is yet another opportunity for all of us, including our Intel technology provider channel partners, to capitalize on."

1. Skylake -- The "Star Of The Show"

Skylake, Intel's sixth-generation 14nm processor microarchitecture platform, due later in 2015, will be the "star of the show," said Intel's Crone.

Skylake, Intel's successor to the Broadwell chip architecture, will provide increased performance with CPU graphics, increased battery-life performance and reduced power consumption.

"We think Skylake will be a one-two-three punch," said Crone. "You've got Skylake sixth-gen with its performance, and now we can add in some of the user experiences that are really coming to life on this platform with Windows 10."