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January 10, 2012 at 4:34 PM

CES 2012: Intel moves beyond PC era, touts Android phone

LAS VEGAS — During his keynote speech at CES, Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini said we’re moving beyond the era of the personal computer — to the era of “personal computing.”

“The devices themselves are less relevant,” he said. “The more important question is, “Are we creating a better experience.’ That’s the ultimate litmus test for all of us in the industry and at CES.”

Otellini outlined four “essential qualities of computing”: It has to be engaging and devices have to think as fast as we do; experiences have to be consistent regardless of the size and location of the device; devices need to be aware of our preferences and identity; computing experiences must also be secure while keeping personal data personal.

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In his first dive into products, Otellini emphasized smartphones, an area where the company has been trying to gain traction. He said the company’s new smartphone hardware is coming first to China, in Lenovo’s new K800 smartphone.

Liu Jun, senior vice president of Lenovo (at left), came on stage to show the device, which has a 4.5-inch HD screen and Android software. It’s coming to the Chinese market in the second quarter.

“This is only the first step — I firmly believe Intel and Lenovo will achieve great success is the mobile” market, Jun said.

Otellini then showed Intel’s phone reference design that hardware companies can use to quickly build their own Android phones with 8 megapixel cameras, 1080p video, 8 hours of talk time and 14 days of standby time.

The device is less than 10 millimeters thick, has HDMI ports and NFC payment capability.

Otellini said the reference platform outperforms many currently shipping phones in browsing speeds, Javascript performance and energy consumption.

Sanjay Jha, chief executive of Motorola Mobility, came on stage to show its support for Intel’s mobile hardware.

“We’re thrilled” to build high-performance mobile products based on the mobile Atom hardware, Jha said, then announced a multi-year partnership with Intel.

Intel-powered Motorola devices should enter the validation phase this summer, Jha said.

Chris Aubrey, Addidas marketing vice president, then came on stage to demonstrate a wall-sized interactive touchscreen display powered by Intel i7 processors.

“We’re giving consumers access to an endless aisle of products,” Aubrey said.

Customers can touch the screen to play games, socialize through online networks and also peruse and purchase shoes. When they’re ready to complete the deal, they enter their size and a clerk toting a tablet will appear with the shoes.

During a two-week test in London the system increased sales by five times, Aubrey said.

Otellini then went back to the PC era, demonstrating a reference design for an Intel Atom-based tablet running Windows 8.

“The combination of Windows 8 on Intel architecture promises to bring great new experiences to tablets,” he said.

At the same time, people are expecting more from their PCs, he said, leading into a pitch for the Ultrabook laptop category that Intel’s promoting.

More than 60 new Ultrabooks are now being developed by PC makers, in addition to more than a dozen already on the market, Otellini said.

Jeff Clarke, Dell vice chairman, came on stage to announce Dell’s new XPS 13 Ultrabook. The laptop is less than a quarter inch thick at its thinnest point. The case is aluminum with a carbon fiber base and weighs less than 3 pounds.

“We think this is what next-generation computing looks like going forward,” Clarke said.

Clarke said it’s similar in size to an 11-inch notebook but has a 13-inch screen. He said it has nearly nine hours of battery life on the device, and it’s designed to be always connected so it continually receives updates. Inside it has Intel i5 or i7 processors, and Dell will begin taking orders in February.

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Then Otellini showed a reference design for convertible laptops with displays that tilt forward — on a tall hinge — to the front edge of the palmrest, where they can be used as a video display or for touch computing. The display also folds all the way down to form a tablet, with the lid lying screen-side up over the keyboard. Inside the system runs the new “Ivy Bridge” processors built using Intel’s 22 nanometer manufacturing process.

Intel showed the reference design running both Windows 7 and Windows 8.

To raise the profile of Ultrabooks and the brand, Intel is sending musician will.i.am on a global tour to create songs in different cities and upload and share them with his Ultrabook.

Will.i.am came on stage with his aluminum Ultrabook and talked about the tour and the hardware, then played part of the first song he created on the tour, in Tokyo.

“I love it — I love DJ’ing with it, I love creating with it,” will.i.am said, after Otellini asked how he liked the laptop.

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Will.i.am went on to explain how music today is created and played with computers.

“This is the new ghetto blaster,” he said.

“Wow,” Otellini said, after he finished laughing and the hubbub in the room died down.

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