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June 2, 2014

Intel’s Renée James dismisses claims of ‘PC-demise’

Amid optimism, Intel fishes for markets in wearable and robots

By Vinod

Intel’s president Renée James continues to bat for the ‘troubled PC,’ which is being branded as ‘nearing obsolescence’ amid rise in usage of smartphones and tablet computers.

As the microchip-maker struggles to reinvent its business amid switching of consumer loyalties from PCs to sophisticated mobile devices, industry analysts are painting ‘doomsday scenarios’ for the ‘good-old PC.’

James argues an opposite scenario where the ‘humble’ PC is evolving as many traditional PC-driven companies have done where they have started producing laptops that fold into tablets, tablets with laptop-like keyboards, and many other forms, she told The Financial Times.

Dell recently launched Venue Android tablets and followed up with Inspiron 2-in-1 devices that resemble Lenovo’s Yoga.

Hybrid hinges are also in as Asus has Transformer Pads, which is kind of ‘netbook-ish.’ Dell also has a lineup of all-in-one PCs designed to bridge the office and living room divide.

Amongst all this, Intel’s challenge is to supply chips to all these ultra-new hybrid devices running on both Android as well as Windows. So far, Intel’s record on making chips for mobile products has been weaker than its competitors.

Intel will exhibit its much-delayed ‘Broadwell’ chip at this year’s Computex Trade Show that promises better performance and lower power consumption for tablets and laptops. It will also display a 2-in-1 device prototype device called Llama Mountain, which can be a laptop or tablet, and is touted among the thinnest hybrid devices shown by Intel based on a fifth-generation Core processor.

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The other challenge before Intel is to make these hybrid devices popular among users as it has been discovering, much to its dismay, about the sagging sales of Microsoft’s Windows-based tablet, the Surface, which runs on Intel’s chip.

"Consumer is harder, that one is really hard," James said, citing consumers’ fickleness and fast-changing preferences.

The company is also expanding in areas like wearable technology and robotics. Recently Intel chief executive demonstrated a shirt with embedded electronics to measure biometrics such as heart rate, and a prototype of 3D-printed robots.

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