Computing is set for a radical change. The disruptor this time is again Intel, with its 4th Generation Core processors. Yes, they will offer better performance, but the game changer will be the improvement in battery life brought in by the low thermal design of the processor.
Based on Intel's 22-nanometer micro-architecture, the new Haswell processor family has thermal design low enough for the processor to be moved away from under the keyboard to behind the screen.
For the average user, this mean a tablet design will now be able to take on high-end computing
without using up the battery in a jiffy. Intel processors powering tablets at the moment are from the Atom family, which can tend to be underpowered for content creation. The low thermal footprint will also mean laptops and tablets that don't heat up with use.
Leighton Phillips, director of product management and pricing at Intel Asia Pacific, explained that this will also usher in a new era of 2-in-one computing.
"The processors will take the desk out of desktop computing
," he said, adding that this will mean new opportunities for design.
So you will have large screen desktop PCs that can detach from their docks and become portable tablets if the need arises. With standby times of up to 13 days and video playback of 9.7 hours these screens will be able to stay away from the "desk" for long periods of time.
"We will now be talking about the desktop with a battery life," Phillips added.
The new processor will also mean manufacturers will no longer have to compromise with form factor, battery life or performance. Laptops, convertibles and PCs will now be sleek, while having superb performance and long battery lives.
Devices with the new processors will also feature the new Iris and Iris Pro integrated graphics which promises to be as good as discrete graphics without the extra price and power consumption associated with the latter.
Just wait to see how the manufacturers use thin new found freedom to come up with designs that change the way we use computers.
One thing that is coming is desktops that are a lot more adaptive and perceptional. You will be able to command it will voice and gesture at the same time, once the 3D camera and better microphones start being integrated in the models.
"Perceptional computing and battery life can make a huge difference in a country like India with a little bit of tweaking," said Intel South Asia MD Debjani Ghosh.
The first models with the 4th Generation Processors will come from Acer which will launch the E1-572 models as early as next week. The notebooks will have a very affordable price tag of around Rs 37,000. Its ultra-thin Aspire S7 model which can fold flat to enable sharing will be available in July.
Dell and HP will both start by refreshing their XPS 12 and Envy X2 models respectively.
Shishir Singh, Director EUC Marketing at Dell India, said they will be refreshing existing models with the new chips till their new designs are ready. "This would just mean a small price increment on the existing models," he said.
Lenovo is promising more of its all-in-one with the new processor
in a couple of months. Most of these devices will have touch as a standard feature.
But for the really revolutionary designs we will need to wait for the end of this year. However, as with the Ultrabook last year and the convertibles and hybrids this year, the first wave will most probably be really expensive premium devices.