Intel CEO Brian Krzanich used his CES 2014 keynote to talk up key technologies around wearable tech. It was a marked change from the PC-centric keynotes delivered by former CEO Paul Otellini.
"Wearables don't integrate everything you want, and they're not solving real problems," he said. "We thought there was one simple answer for us."
Krzanich introduced several concepts such as a smart assistant, fitness tracking earbuds and a wireless charging bowl. There was also a standalone smartwatch. Intel said it would partner with several companies to make these products a reality this year and said it was already talking with Barneys New York among others.
On the watch, Krzanich said "Remember we wanted to make everything smart? It requires no tethering. It has smart geofencing." That means it could be used to monitor when a child or elderly person goes outside a target area as defined by their guardian or carer.
The smart assistant is nicknamed Jarvis and is essentially a Bluetooth headset that means you can use full voice control without having to touch your handset. "It interrupts politely, it's integrated with your phone, but you don't need to touch the handset at all." In reality this is just like a turbocharged Siri – the difference, of course, is that Siri is already integrated into millions of handsets.
One of the highlights of the keynote was the announcement of Intel Edison, Intel's equivalent of the Raspberry Pi. "Only four months ago we announced Quark at IDF. Edison is built on 22nm tri-gate transistor tech – it's a full Pentium class PC the size of an SD card."
Intel has partnered with Wolfram over the device, which runs full Linux open source. The aim for Edison is that it should power many of new wearable devices. One of these was demonstrated – termed Nursery 2.0 a sensor attached to a baby's nightime clothing can measure pulse, temperature and respiration. Intel also announced a $1.3 prize fund to encourage the ecosystem around wearable tech.
On 2-in-1s PCs, Intel took the opportunity to announce 64-bit dual OS systems for Windows and Android, even though several solutions are out already.
"We really believe [2-in-1s] provide a tablet when you want it and a PC when you need it. You'll see a lot more innovation in this space this year, said Krzanich. "These are great Windows devices. What if you wanted Android?"
Intel also announced Intel Device Protection Technology for Android "that enables you to move in and out of the office." Krzanich also said McAfee security software on all consumer mobile devices will be free across all architectures and platforms. It will be rebranded Intel Security as part of a move to completely phase out the McAfee brand name.
Krzanich also took the opportunity to talk up Intel's considerable progress in making its processors conflict mineral-free.
"The solution isn't easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. It's not as critical as the lives [lost]," he said. "Over the last four years we've worked with Governments and groups like Enough. Years of work has paid off. I'm excited to announce that every Intel processor we manufacture in 2014 will be conflict free. We are inviting the entire industry to join us."
Valve also came on stage to talk about the Steam Machine announcements it has already made at CES.
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