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Intel and Google plot out closer collaboration around Chromebooks and the future of computing

Intel, the chip-making giant, has been on the road of refocusing its strategy in recent months. While it has sold its portable chip operation to Apple and is reportedly looking for a purchaser for its connected home department, it’s also gone through the difficult task of rethinking how best to tackle the longtime bread and butter of its business, the PC.

Part of that latter strategy is getting a big boost this week at Ce 2020. Here, Intel is today announcing a deeper partnership with Google to design microchips and specifications for Chromebooks built on Project Athena. Project Athena is framework first announced last year that embraces both motif and technical specs, with the aim of build the high-performance laptops of tomorrow that can be used not just for work, but media streaming, gaming, firm employments and more, all on the go — powered by Intel, naturally.

( The specs include things like expecting’ fast wake’ using fingerprints or push-buttons or face-lift lids; use Intel Core i5 or i7 processors;” Ice Lake” processor patterns; better battery life and charging; WiFi 6; touch exposes; 2-in-1 designs; narrow bezels and more .)

Earlier today, the first two Chromebooks built on those Athena specifications — from Samsung and Asus — were announced by the respective firms, and Intel says that there will be more to come. And on theatre, Google affiliated Intel during its keynote to likewise cement the two companies’ commitment to the mission.

” We’re becoming a pace further and deepening our partnership with Google to accompanied Athena to Chromebooks ,” Gregory Bryant, the EVP and GM of Intel’s client compute group, said in an interview with TechCrunch ahead of today.” We’ve collaborated very closely with Google[ so that design makers] can take advantage of these specs .”

For Intel, having a Chromebook roster using Athena is important because these have been very popular, and it introduces its processors into machines used by people who are buying Chromebooks to get access to Google business around security and more, and its apps ecosystem.

But stepping up the specifications for Chromebooks is as important for Google as it is for Intel in terms of the bottom line and growing business.

” This is a significant change for Google ,” said John Solomon, Google’s VP of ChromeOS, in an interview ahead of today.” Chromebooks were successful in the education sector first, but in the next 18 months to two years, our intention is to go broader, expanding to customer and enterprise customers. Those useds have greater beliefs and a broader meaning of how to use these devices. That keeps the onus on us to deliver more achievement .”

The replaced struggle comes at an interesting time. The laptop market is in a generally tight spot these days. Overall, the personal computing market is in a state of decline, and forecast to continue that direction for the next several years.

But there is a slightly brighter drawing for different types of machines that are coming out of collaborations like the one between Intel, Google, and their hardware partners: IDC forecasts that 2-in-1 manoeuvres — by which it means convertible PCs and detachable tablets — and ultra-slim notebook PCs” are expected to grow 5% collectively over the same period ,” versus a complex annual growth rate of -2. 4% between 2019 and 2023. So there is growth, but not a huge amount.

Up against that is the strength of the smartphone market. Granted, it, extremely, is facing some issues as numerou markets reach smartphone saturation and consumers are slower to upgrade.

All that is to say that there are challenges. And that is why Intel, whose riches are so closely linked to those of personal computing devices since it manufactures the processors for them, has to make a big push around activities like Athena.

Up to this month, all of the laptops built to Athena specs have been Windows PCs — 25 to date — but Intel had always said from the start Chromebooks would be part of the mixture, to help bring the total number of Athena-based devices up to 75 by the end of this year( adding 50 in 2020 ).

Chromebooks are a good area for Intel to be focusing on, as they seem to be outpacing growth for the wider marketplace, despite some notable flaws about how Chrome OS has been seen as a “light” operating system with few native tools and consolidations in favor of apps. IDC said that in Q4 of 2019, growth was 19% year-on-year, and from what I understand the festivity point assured an even stronger rise. In the US, Chromebooks had a market share of around 27% last November, according to NPD/ Gfk.

What’s interesting is the collaborative approaching that Intel — and Google — are taking to grow. The Apple-style simulation is the creation of vertical incorporated into its hardware business to ensure a disciplined and merged approaching to flesh and gathering: the specific requirements of the hardware are there precisely to handle the kinds of services that Apple itself envisions to work on its maneuvers, and in turn, it hands down very specific requirements to third parties to work on those manoeuvres when they are not services and apps native to Apple itself.

While Google is not in the business of build laptops or processors( more ?), and Intel is also far from building more than really processors, what the two have created here is an attempt at generating a kind of penalized specification that mimics what you might get in a vertically integrated business.

” It’s all about build the best commodities and delivering the best experience ,” Bryant said.

” We can’t do what we do without Intel’s help and this close engineering collaboration over the last 18 months ,” Solomon computed.” This is the beginning of more to come in this space, with innovation that hasn’t previously been verified .”

Indeed, move forwards, interestingly Bryant and Solomon wouldn’t rule out that Athena and their collaboration might extend beyond laptops.

” Our position is to move the PC great. If we give consumers value and a reason to buy a PC we can keep the PC alive ,” said Bryant, but he added that Intel is continuing to evolve the specification, too.

” From a anatomy ingredient you’ll see an expansion of designs that have dual showings or have diff kinds of technology and word factors ,” he said.” Our intention is to expand and do variants on what we have shown today .”

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