Intel Inside 2-in-1 Devices
Earlier this week, (June 14), Intel held a media conference in Colombo to discuss new types of devices available to the consumer now. Indika De Zoysa, country business manager for Sri Lanka, took the floor to talk about the rapid progress in chip technology and the evolution of PCs. He reminded the audience about how large and immobile the PC used to be in the past, and how relatively few features it had then.
Fast forward to today, and the industry and product has changed quite a bit. 2015 was the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law, which states that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit will double approximately every two years. This has led to the creation of computers that are smaller, more compact, much more powerful than ever before. Coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidental), Gordon Earle Moore was a co-founder of Intel.
Indika explained how the evolution of technology and the needs of consumers was pushing computers to be smaller and much more mobile than before. Laptops were becoming slimmer, and gradually converging with tablet computing to create a hybrid device, or a 2-in-1 computer. These 2-in-1 PCs perform both as you would expect a laptop to perform, while retaining the mobility and the interactiveness of a laptop. Indika mentioned how these 2-in-1 devices work well for students and professionals who are always on the move and can’t carry around heavy devices.
The newer hybrid computers also pack in a lot of power. Some of them use low power consumption processors that can handle most tasks while not draining your battery, while other devices pack in i5 and i7 processors for that extra heavy workload.
The thing is, hybrid 2-in-1 devices are not new. Manufacturers have been trying to make them work for years. Lenovo launched its Ideapad in 2010. The Asus Transformer Book was out in 2013. Maybe the first attempt at a commercial 2-in-1 was the Compaq TC1000 back in 2002. After Apple’s success with the the iPad, tablet computers have become increasingly popular. The ease of use and the mobility of a tablet make it an obvious choice for average computing use. Then, Microsoft’s introduction of the Surface prompted PC manufacturers to greater efforts in creating hybrid PC models, so much so that a 2-in-1 maybe your first choice when purchasing your next computer.
But again, none of this is new, so why have a conference to talk about it now?
The clue may lie in local manufacturers and the local market. Perhaps what Intel is trying to do here is to create awareness in the local market that devices like this exist, and are affordable and powerful enough to be useful. Local manufacturers and suppliers are working with Intel as well, to release locally branded devices which are affordable and still get the job done. Some of the lower end devices start at Rs. 27,000 while some of the international brands go on past a few thousand dollars. Two of the local brands we saw at the conference were Dialog, which had a couple of models, and Ewis. The Dialog models didn’t look that sharp, with cheap plastic and plenty of flex in the body, but since they were offering the lowest price, we can’t really expect Macbook quality. The Ewis models under the brand name OCTA, manufactured in Sri Lanka, looked good for the price, though their screens could have been more responsive.
Intel works with Sri Lankan manufacturers, putting Intel chips in the devices and helping them source suppliers which is pretty cool. Locally manufactured electronics don’t get much attention, but it should. It is a pretty big plus that Sri Lanka can manufacture its own hybrid computers, and since 2-in-1’s are getting more popular, it would be well that more people should be made aware of this.