Intel's desktop of the future very tablet-ish, tired

Intel thinks the desktop PC has legs, but the future is going to feature either large portable tablet-like devices or tiny computers that resemble bricks.

Intel's future of the desktop revolves around portable all-in-ones---think big tablets---and mini PCs that look like bricks.

The chip giant billed its wares as the reinvention of desktop computing, but that's a bit of a stretch given some of these form factors are already in the field. Portable desktop computing makes sense, but the big question is whether tech buyers will go for the reinvention.

So far, the reinvention just looks like big oversized tablets lugged around from room to room. On the opposite end of the spectrum are so-called mini-PCs that can fit anywhere.

This week at the Game Developers Conference, Intel gave some meat and potatoes to the enthusiast user---folks that get into overclocked processors and want lots of power. Intel added an unlocked 4th generation Core processor, an 8-core chip and an Anniversary Edition Pentium to the mix. Intel will also bring new Iris graphics with its next-gen Core chips code named Broadwell. For good measure, Intel announced developer partnerships for better multi-touch applications.

It all sounded good, but the fate of these new-fangled desktops still rides with the success of Windows 8, which has been a bit of a hard sell.


Intel noted in a statement that tiny PCs for boats and all-in-ones highlight how the desktop market has legs. Intel also demonstrated a reference design PC that featured people lugging an all-in-one around the house. There's potential there for similar designs---Lenovo pushes them---but the use cases are a bit limited.

The game plan for Intel is to accelerate all-in-one adoption, grow the tiny PC market and obviously sell more processors along the way.

I was hoping for more vision about the desktop. The recurring theme is that desktops will be mobile too and portable. What's unclear is whether desktops offer any real unique advantages when tablets and laptops hooked up to large monitors and docking stations will do.