Intel wants to redefine mobile personal computing via voice, gesture functionality

Intel is working to provide "human-like senses" to computing by enabling touch and speech functionality across all devices.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO -- As technology becomes more "intuitive," Intel is working to add "human-like senses" to computing by enabling touch and speech functionality across all devices, according to chief product officer David Perlmutter.

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The general manager of the Intel architecture group opened Intel Developer Forum 2012 on Tuesday morning by noting that this is the 15th year the conference has taken place, asserting that Intel has "been evolving since then and launched a lot of great technologies."

But this year, Perlmutter said that the big discussion this week is about experience and how Intel will be collaborating with industry partners to deliver and shape the future from datacenter to devices.

"This is the era of the digital transformation," said Perlmutter. "Many people in the room might understand that. Many people outside the room might not."

The real big change happening right now is centered around mobile personal computing, Perlmutter said.

Following up the introduction of Ultrabooks in 2011 and trying to make them mainstream in 2012, Intel is focusing on "reinventing mobility" going into 2013 with the 4th generation Intel Core processors, also known by the code name "Haswell."

"Mobile computing requires a huge amount of capabilities to make the great experiences really happen," Perlmutter acknowledged, describing that means providing everything from a touchscreen to all-day battery life to instant-on functionality.

Thus, Perlmutter highlighted technologies coming to Ultrabooks with help from industry partners.

Possibly aiming to get ahead of the integration of Apple's Siri on the MacBook Air (arguably the biggest competitor for the Ultrabook brand), the beta version of Nuance's Dragon Assistant was demonstrated on pulling up search results on both Google and Amazon within a matter of seconds. Perlmutter quipped that "within a year, it will even understand my accent," to some laughter from the keynote audience.

Select Ultrabooks will ship with Dragon Assistant Beta in Q4 2012. The Intel Perceptual Computing SDK 2013 Beta, which includes the voice SDK components from Nuance, will be rolling out to developers this week.

Furthermore, Intel has tapped Creative and SoftKinetic to for integrating gesture controls. For example, Perlmutter pointed towards an attachable 3D camera from Creative that clips on top of the Ultrabook, which Perlmutter boasted has been shrunk down considerably in both size and cost because it is powered via USB.

There were a few surprising partnerships too. For instance, Perlmutter admitted that Intel and MasterCard isn't the most obvious match, but the two are working on making online shopping experiences simpler and safer.

Gary Flood, president of global products and services at MasterCard, added that MasterCard can make the shopping process easy, but Intel could make the PayPass Wallet by MasterCard platform more secure.

Pointing out that NFC itself is not secure, the executives cited that cloud infrastructures can be utilized for authentication. But on top of that, MasterCard is looking toward Intel's identity protection technology with device-level authentication that confirms the card and the laptop belong to the same user.

Perlmutter posited that this is an example of delivering a service and an experience that is easy to do but much more secure than ever before.

As for mobile devices themselves, Perlmutter reflected that he wouldn't be announcing anything new about Intel's smartphone initiative, which was introduced at CES 2012 earlier this year, with the exception of saying that "we are making steady process on our phone products."

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