Wire-free PCs, tablets and phones coming in 2015 says Intel

The chipmaker is pushing for computers based around its next generation of processors to eliminate cables for power and peripherals.
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

Intel will push PC manufacturers to put completely wireless computers on shelves by the end of next year.

The chipmaker expects computers based around its next generation Intel Skylake processors, expected to be in systems before the end of 2015, to eliminate cables for power and peripherals.

Intel informs the design of computers based on its processors by producing reference designs for manufacturers. The firm's reference designs for Skylake-based 2-in-1 computers and PCs will utilise a suite of wireless technologies, Intel's general manager of the PC Client Group Kirk Skaugen said at IDF in San Francisco.

The machine will be able to wirelessly charge when in range of a board emitting power, which could be attached to the underside of the table. Both the board emitting and receiving the charge will comply with the Rezence wireless charging standard.

The chipmaker hopes that people living in cities and towns will always be in walking distance of a wireless charging point, much as is the case with wi-fi in built-up areas today.

Skaugen referenced the success that Intel had encouraging the spread of wi-fi access when it launched its Centrino wi-fi adapters as an example of how it might encourage the spread of wireless charging.

"There's going to be hundreds of charge stations everywhere," he said.

When it comes to device support for wireless charging "every major PC vendor" has signed up for this [Rezence] standard", according to Skaugen, citing Acer, Asus, Dell and Lenovo. Wireless charging phone covers will be available from the first quarter of next year, charging add-ons for tablets in the first half of the year, he said.

For wirelessly connecting a computer to a larger screen Skylake reference machines will include WiDi, Intel's technology for streaming video and audio to a display based on the Miracast standard. WiDi can establish a wireless connection in less than five seconds, as well as keeping audio and video in sync.

On stage at IDF Skaugen demonstrated an Asus ultrabook with Intel Iris integrated graphics using WiDi to smoothly stream video to an LG TV with 4K resolution – four times that of that of modern 1080p HD screens. The LG display is due for release in 2015.

Skaugen expects there to be more than 300 million WiDi enabled PCs by the end of 2016.

Intel is working with Actiontec on producing a small WiDi adapter that will fit into the HDMI port on a display and which will cost less than $40.

For docking with peripherals, such as mice and keyboard, Skylake machines will use the WiGig wireless data streaming specification. The version that Intel is working on can transmit data about 10 times faster than 802.11n wi-fi.

"We want you to be able to just drop your system down on your desk and for it to automatically connect to all of your peripherals.

"With WiGig we're putting solutions together for both the transmit and the receive side," said Skaugen, adding an OIC-compliant WiGig connection would also allow very fast wireless file copy between devices.

WiGig connections will be integrated into Intel Core M and Core M vPro processors by the middle of next year.

Intel's completely wireless Skylake-based reference systems, with integrated LTE and its 3D RealSense camera, will be available to manufacturers and developers from Q1 2015.

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