Intel shows portable all-in-one prototype, first Ready Mode app

GDC — As part of its renewed desktop push, Intel is attempting to innovate on the form-factor front. One of the form factors the company is pursuing is the portable all-in-one, or pAIO. Portable all-in-ones, as their name suggests, are large-screened iMac-style PCs that are designed to be moved around the house—say, from the living room coffee table to the kitchen counter.

According to Intel's new desktop chief, Lisa Graff, research shows that one out of three people in the U.S. move their desktop PC at least once a year. In China, that number is two out of three. Graff says Intel has seen good consumer response to the pAIO concept and to the few pAIO designs that have already hit the market.

At GDC yesterday, Graff showed a next-generation pAIO reference platform code-named Blackbrook. This platform is based on Intel's 14-nm Broadwell processors, so it's a little ways from release still, but it looks quite interesting:

Blackbrook features an acrylic display, which is apparently lighter and thinner than glass; a pop-up handle, which allows the system to be carried around more easily; an Intel RealSense camera, which enables gesture controls; high-quality audio, so the system can be used as a TV or music hub; and finally, a quad-array microphone, which Intel says is needed to support voice commands if the system is laying flat on its back.

In addition to Blackbrook, Graff demoed one of the first applications that can take advantage of Intel's Ready Mode technology. (For a primer on Ready Mode, see Scott's article.) That app is CyberLink MediaStory, a photo and video cataloging app that uses tags and metadata to organize content.

The desktop version of MediaStory will be able to interface with a matching Android service that will keep track of photos and videos on the Android device and sync new content automatically. In theory, as soon as you get home, your phone and tablet will sync their photos and videos with your desktop, without the need for active participation in the process. In Graff's demo (which was ultimately thwarted by technical difficulties), a Haswell-based all-in-one used just under 8W of power while in its Ready Mode idle state.

Graff said we can expect a production-ready version of CyberLink MediaStory with its complementary Android service in April.

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