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Intel wants to make PCs completely wireless

by on05 June 2014

No power cords, USB cables, video cables

Intel has a cunning plan to revitalize the PC with a range of new technologies, which could eliminate the need for all cables within a few years.

This is not a new concept. When Apple launched the original iMac in the nineties, it tried to depict it as a much more elegant solution compared to standard PCs. There was no cable clutter at the back and the iMac was truly a thing of beauty – standard PCs were anything but.

Skylake brings support for a range of new technologies

Intel needs a few new technologies to deliver on its promise by 2016. The company is working on wireless charging, along with new data transfer technologies which will also be used for docking and display interfaces.

Intel’s next-next CPU generation, codenamed Skylake, will feature support for wireless charging, display, docking and data. Getting there won’t be easy. Wireless charging is not taking off, although the tech has been around for a few years. The trouble with today’s wireless charging devices is that they are not efficient and fail to deliver a lot of power.

Intel is working on a new wireless charging spec that should deliver 20W or more. That is enough to power many laptops and in theory it could be enough to power small desktops based on mobile parts. An office desk could double as a charger, providing juice for notebooks, tablets and phones. 20W is not enough for desktops though, but that’s where another trick comes into play.

WiGig wireless displays and modules

With wireless display tech, users could keep their desktop boxes elsewhere. Intel wants to replace all display cables with WiGig. The standard is not new, it has been out for a while, but adoption remains limited.

WiGig can deliver three times the speed of 802.11ac and it has enough bandwidth to handle displays. Intel is working on WiGig modules for a range of platforms, including laptops, desktops and of course displays. In addition to displays, WiGig can be used for peripherals, so our mice and keyboards could use it in a few years.

We believe WiGig has a bit more adoption potential than wireless charging, at least when it comes to PCs. Wireless charging is just not mature enough and it will be trickier to deploy moving forward. However, with Intel’s support WiGig could become a big deal in a matter of years. It is still too pricey for mainstream users, but with wider industry adoption that could change.

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