This past week has been a BUSY one for the tech world. I’ve seen everything from the next generation of Intel CPUs (codenamed Haswell) up-close-and-personal to concept computing devices, displays…and, well, I got to spend a lot of more quality time with the ENVY x2 while demoing it to folks at the 2012 Intel Developer’s Forum. For a taste of what’s to come, keep on reading.
Rather than ramble, let me give you a couple quick highlights on tech that caught my eye….and give you fair warning that in blogs coming down the road I plan to go waaay deeper into each of these points in greater detail. (I should also mention up front that this is done in no particular order.)
ENVY x2 draws a crowd – Throughout the show, HP’s Kevin Wentzel, Ali Kahn and yours truly fielded questions and comments from all sorts of folks about our recently-announced Hybrid PC. When I say, everyone is digging it, I mean everyone. Here’s one example: After we showed the ENVY x2 to Chippy at Ultrabooknews.com, he said, “I hadn’t intended to write about Atom-based devices while at IDF this week but the HP Envy X2 caught my eye in a very good way and after a hands-on I came away thinking how far Atom has come and how this device represents something for those wanting the full flexibility of a modular PC and a focus on battery life.” Here’s an anecdotal note for you as well: An engineer working on a certain OS that shall remained unnamed came by the booth, played with the ENVY x2 and said that this was the best implementation that he’d seen running Intel’s new system on chip (that codename, by the way, is Clover Trail). The most frequently asked questions from our time at the show: “How much will it cost?” “How long is the battery life?” “When is it coming out?” (We don’t have answers for those questions quite yet) and “Can I get one?” True story.
Intel’s Haswell: What its next gen of CPU is all about – The big, notable jump that came with going from second-generation Intel Core processors to the third generation was the step-up in graphics performance. In fact, I put that jump to the test with HP Ultrabook models. For the conference keynote, Intel’s Dadi Perlmutter showed how Haswell – the next generation of Intel CPU – stacks up to a current unit. The big difference, according to him, is once again in the graphics performance (in three different levels for Haswell: GT1, GT2 and GT3) and better battery life. So far, it’s looking pretty promising on the performance front. On stage at the keynote, Perlmutter shows the Unigine Heaven DX11 tests (the same we use here for TheNextBenchmark) while afterwards, I checked it out in practice. On two similarly-specced machines (the key difference being the generational jump in CPU and integrated graphics) I saw the difference firsthand in Skyrim. With a 3rd-Gen Core CPU, the game ran at 1366 by 768 with anti-aliasing dialed down and texture details muted. The Haswell system, using the GT3-level graphics, kicked out a 1920 by 1080 resolution picture with a steady – and – equal framerate. Plus, that Haswell system also had textures and effects dialed up. Will I see this level of performance in an Ultrabook sometime next year? I sure hope so!
WiDi picks up the pace –WiDi’s been a neat idea – transmitting an A/V signal from your laptop to a nearby receiver. Over time, they’ve been overcoming latency challenges and we’re now at the point where you won’t spot a delay for a mouse cursor movement that was common in the first-gen efforts. This brings me to another interesting addition: A USB back channel. Receivers plugged into your TV can now send input back to the PC. So, you could have a wireless mouse left in your living room….or just keep an Xbox 360 controller connected to the WiDi receiver. Now, you could play a game like Portal 2 on your laptop with a gamepad, have it project to your TV and not notice lag time between what is happening in-game and what shows up on your screen. This, combined with Steam’s Big Picture mode could be a big thing. Mark my words on that one.
HP Labs and the Future of Computing – John Apostolopous, Director of the Mobile and Immersive Experience Lab (MIX Lab) popped by the booth to support the home team but to also hold an impromptu speaker session showcasing some of the things that the HP Labs has been up to – and what they continue to work upon. It was a great, active session where he was happy to field questions from the crowd where he covered topics ranging from plastic flexible displays to cloud-connected personal devices and what they could help foster. Honestly, it was one of those, “you had to be there moments” that I won’t try to squeeze in here. I do have a couple cool slides to share, though….
This second shot really gets me psyched for my Minority Report future!
There was more, cool tech on display, but no need to get you all jammed into one story right now. There are many more stories to tell about each bit of tech above – (and more stuff that I didn’t have room for here). Also, After chatting with John Apostolopous, we’re looking into taking you guys deeper behind-the-scenes at HP labs than ever before.
That’s all coming here soon. What are you guys looking forward to learning more about?