PC makers are using the launch of Intel's much-anticipated "Skylake" processors to release a slew of new systems that take advantage of the performance and power improvements and new features that the chip maker put into its product lineup.
Lenovo, Acer and Toshiba were among the system OEMs that unveiled new offerings at the IFA 2015 show in Berlin that are powered by Intel's new 6th generation Core processors that executives with the chip maker introduced at the same show Sept. 1. That comes on the heels of reports in the weeks leading up to the show about Skylake chips powering upcoming PCs from Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Asus and others.
Lenovo at the show ran out an array of systems running Microsoft's Windows 10 and powered by the Skylake chips, from new Yoga convertible PCs and desktop systems to Ideapad laptops and an Ideapad tablet. Acer added to its Aspire lineup with a new convertible notebook and a desktop, and Toshiba rolled out a 12.5-inch two-in-one, the Satellite Radius 12. A number of the systems are aimed at the upcoming holiday buying season, carrying the hope that PCs that offer the combination of Windows 10 and the Skylake processors can slow the decline in global PC shipments that has been going on since 2011.
In unveiling the new chips, Intel executives said they expected that over the next year or so, the combination of systems running Windows 10 and powered by the 6th generation chips will help drive demand for new PCs. They also noted the age of many of the PCs that are still in use. According to Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Client Computing Group, there are more than 500 million PCs being used today that are five or more years old, and about 1 billion that are more than three years old.
In addition, while Intel engineers did a lot of work in the areas of performance and energy efficiency with the 14-nanometer Skylake processors, they also put in a wide range of features—such as RealSense 3D cameras, WiGig wireless technology and the Intel Speed Shift technology, which improves the responsiveness in mobile systems by more quickly moving between low-power and full-power states. Intel and Microsoft also worked closely together in such areas as security and authentication, all of which can only be taken advantage of through new systems.
The new chips bring "previously niche and fringe experiences to the mainstream," Skaugen wrote in a post on the company blog. "Beyond offering leaps in performance, graphics, security and power efficiency, the latest processor family brings an immersive computing experience that will forever change our relationship with technology. And for that reason alone, there truly never has been a better time to buy a new computer. These experiences put the 'personal' back into PC."
The OEMs that rolled out new systems at IFA highlighted many of these features. For example, Toshiba officials touted the facial authentication offered in its new two-in-one system, which comes from using Intel's RealSense camera technology and the Windows Hello biometric authentication feature.
Bob O'Donnell, principal analyst with Technalysis Research, said those features—and the fact that Intel and Microsoft worked so closely together in developing Windows 10 and the Skylake chips—hold the promise for a strong PC market going forward. O'Donnell has long believed that despite the declining worldwide sales numbers over the past few years, PCs were not going to disappear in favor of smartphones.
"Despite all the death knells for the PC, the simple fact is … people are still using PCs," he told eWEEK.