PCs in 2015: Smaller, Thinner, Affordable and Armed With Windows 10

 
 
By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2015-01-19
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    1 - PCs in 2015: Smaller, Thinner, Affordable and Armed With Windows 10
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    PCs in 2015: Smaller, Thinner, Affordable and Armed With Windows 10

    by Jeffrey Burt
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    2 - New Processors From Intel, AMD
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    New Processors From Intel, AMD

    At CES, Intel launched its long-awaited 14-nanometer 5th Generation Core "Broadwell-U" chips, which promise better performance and power efficiency in a smaller package. They also include Intel's RealSense 3D camera and Wireless Display (WiDi) technologies. More is on the way: Later this year Intel will roll out "Skylake," which has even greater performance, battery life and energy efficiency. AMD this year will release "Carrizo" APUs, which will challenge Intel's Broadwell chips. (Photo by Intel)
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    3 - Smaller, Thinner and Lighter
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    Smaller, Thinner and Lighter

    OEMs are taking the term "ultraportable" to heart with many of the new systems they're offering. For example, at CES, Dell unveiled the 13-inch XPS 13 PC, which includes a virtually edgeless display and a weight of only 2.6 pounds. With the release of its Core-M chip last year, Intel showed off the "Llama Mountain" reference architecture—a two-in-one with a thickness of 7.2mm and weight of 1.4 pounds. (Photo by Dell)
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    4 - Get Ready for More Mini Systems
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    Get Ready for More Mini Systems

    PC makers are looking for ways to respond to the popularity not only of tablets but also of Chromebooks, the small, low-cost systems that run on Chrome. (The same PC makers also make many of the Chromebooks on the market.) One way is with mini PCs. HP at CES introduced the Pavilion Mini and Stream Mini desktops. Intel offers its NUC (Next Unit of Computing). (Photo by HP)
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    5 - Lower and Lower Prices
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    Lower and Lower Prices

    PC and component makers have been pushing to bring down the prices of PCs to help them better compete with tablets and Chromebooks, some of which come with price points under $200. For example, HP's Minis come in as low as $179.99, and the prices of systems should just keep going down. (Photo by Acer)
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    6 - Letting Go of the Wires
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    Letting Go of the Wires

    Intel executives have a vision of a wireless PC experience. That includes the wireless charging of systems, where a notebook can be placed on a table and recharged. Intel is backing the Rezence technology being developed by the Alliance for Wireless Power. In addition, the company also is promoting its own WiDi technology, which will enable laptops to connect to displays without wires, as well as the WiGig standard, which it says is faster than traditional WiFi. (Photo by Intel)
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    7 - New Designs for PCs
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    New Designs for PCs

    New form factors, like two-in-ones, have helped give the PC market a jolt. Now OEMs are looking at other ways to make a better PC. HP in October introduced the Sprout, a system that includes an integrated scanner, depth sensor, high-resolution camera and projector. Dell soon after unveiled the "smart desk," which includes multi-touch LCD screens, a digital touch-enabled workspace and a stylus. (Photo by HP)
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    8 - Putting the Curve Into Displays
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    Putting the Curve Into Displays

    Vendors like Samsung, Dell and HP showed off curved displays at CES, which officials say offer a more comfortable—minimizing eye movement—and immersive user experience. That said, they also come at a higher cost than regular flat-screen displays. (Photo by Dell)
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    9 - Creating New Relationships With PCs
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    Creating New Relationships With PCs

    Technologies ranging from voice recognition to gesture control will become more commonplace in PCs, giving users new ways of interacting with them. In addition, Intel's 3D RealSense camera technology will make its way into new systems. (Photo by Intel)
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    10 - Changing PC Security
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    Changing PC Security

    PC and component makers are looking for ways to improve the security of computers, and biometrics—from fingerprint scans to facial recognition—will get more play. Intel has been an advocate of biometrics, and at CES the company introduced True Key, facial recognition technology. (Photo by Intel)
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    11 - Windows 10 Coming to the Rescue
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    Windows 10 Coming to the Rescue

    Microsoft's Windows 8 wasn't warmly embraced by the industry, with some comparing it to the software maker's disastrous Vista OS. Windows 10 reportedly fixes many of the problems of Windows 8, which could help persuade businesses to replace the 600 million or so PCs out there that are 4 years old or older. (Photo by Microsoft)
 

It's been a rough few years for PCs and their makers. Since late 2011, worldwide shipments of the venerable computers have fallen off, due in large part of the rising popularity of tablets, and the fallout was significant. OEMs and component makers such as Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Advanced Micro Devices rapidly began extending the reach of their portfolios to reduce their reliance on PCs, while others like Sony got out of the business altogether. However, in recent quarters, the decline in shipments slowed, thanks to such trends as the need of businesses to replace their aging systems, Microsoft's decision last year to end support of Windows XP, slowing tablet sales and new form factors, such as two-in-one PCs. Despite the slowing sales, PCs are still a big business, with more than 300 million being sold every year. And if the recent 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was any indication, buyers will see a flood of innovation come into the space this year and into 2016. In this slide show, eWEEK touches on some of what's to come.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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