Intel hopes to power next-gen wearables with Edison
During a pre-CES keynote, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich defined a vision for a wearable world that centers on a SD-sized computing module. According to him, Intel hopes the next generation of smart, wearable devices will be powered by Edison, its 22mm Quark-based computer housed in an SD card form factor. Available in the middle of 2014, Krzanich said he believes Edison will "enable rapid innovation and product development."
"We asked why aren't wearables everywhere, what's holding back wearables in this marketplace? We realized they don't integrate all the features we want... and they're not solving real problems," Krzanich said. "We fixed that by making everything smart."
Krzanich demonstrated a smart headset called Jarvis, powered by Edison, which allows users to interact with their phones without touching. Wolfram language and matematica on Edison enables Jarvis to respond intelligently and interrupt politely.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich at Intel CES Keynote speech. (Source: Intel).
Edison also powered a smart charging bowl, a smart watch with geo-fencing technology and no tethering, smart earbuds and a nursery 2.0., where Krzanich demonstrated a "smart turtle onesie" that tunes into a baby's mood, breathing, and temperature and reports back to tired parents on their smart coffee cups.
The general-purpose platform is open-sourced, supports Linux and has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth LE. The ultra-low-power Edison also will connect to an online app store.
Intel will partner with Barneys, the Council Fashion Designers of America and Opening Ceremony to work on wrist-worn watches. To further encourage innovation, Krzanich announced the Make It Wearable contest for innovative wearable design, with $1.3 million in prizes and the chance to network with Intel officials and industry luminaries.
"As we go through the year, you're going to see more and more partnerships as we develop more of these technologies," he said.
Intel's new chief executive is playing catch up in the wearables space, a hot and arguably over-hyped sector at this year's CES. Krzanich also aimed to show Intel is relevant to today's cutting-edge design trends at a time when the company's PC market is on the decline.
Intel's Edison comes in the wake of a rising tide of wearables such as Google Glass powered by a Texas Instruments SoC. Freescale rolled out its Warp at CES, a competing module for wearables.
Separately, Krzanich announced Intel's first dual-OS capability, giving two-in-one devices a new meaning. This year, users will be able to choose Windows or Android with the click of a button. Customers no longer have to choose between security and choice, he said.
"Intel SoCs are the only ones that offer that capability. You don't have to make a choice moving forward. You can have a secure environment... all offered with full 64bit support," he said. "These capabilities will revolutionize how business gets done."
The move to providing equal support for Android and Windows for mobile systems is a milestone for Intel. It shows the PC giant recognizes the smartphone and tablet OS is as relevant as the PC OS it was once mated to as part of a so-called "Wintel" duopoly.
In addition to the dual-OS capability, Intel has announced it will offer device protection technology across all devices, with MacAfee security coming standard on all new mobile units for free.
"We are in the midst of a transformation from a world of screens and devices to a world of immersive experiences," Krzanich said. "With Edison, we believe opportunities are endless."
- Jessica Lipsky
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