The desktop PC, thanks in part to the success of the all-in-one (AIO) PC, which updated the desktop aesthetic for the 21st century. As the company that sells a majority of the processing chips inside those AIOs, Intel has a vested interest in the future of the format, which it has been quietly promoting through its Black Brook prototype.
First trotted out last spring, the Black Brook concept AIO was recently spotted by Engadget at Intel's Future Showcase that is currently traveling across Asia. The model shown sports a 20-inch full HD display and is just 20mm thick, in part because it uses acrylic instead of glass in its screen technology. That's not nearly as slim as the latest generation of Apple iMacs (probably the best known AIOs), but that's in part because the Black Brook PC isn't designed to remain standing on a desk.
According to Intel's vision, this future AIO becomes a tabletop PC, much like some other desktops that have been released over the past couple of years from the likes of, , , and . Intel promises five hours of battery life from the Black Brook despite its svelte dimensions, and includes a handle so you can schlepp it around your house. It's also noteworthy for including , which could theoretically be used in conjunction with a home 3D printer in the not-so-distant future.
While Intel is showing off one particular prototype, other specs have been disclosed by the company over the last few months. A company document for the European version of the Future Showcase, for instance, refers to a 23.6-inch screen, and other Intel sources say the Black Brook format can work with displays up to 27 inches. Other documents make reference to the ability for the screen to handle pen and touch input simultaneously, useful for scenarios Intel envisions where multiple people are sitting around the computer and interacting with the screens.
Despite showcasing Black Brook, Intel hasn't announced any official products from its various hardware partners that are based on this reference design. None of the previous tabletop PCs has set the world on fire, but perhaps with the marketing power of Intel behind its new version of the AIO, it will have a little more mainstream success.