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IDF 2012's Day One Keynote: Haswell, Voice Control, Mobile Payments and More

Today at Intel's Developer Forum day one keynote, Intel Architecture Group Executive VP David Perlmutter took to the stage to give a presentation entitled ""Reinventing Computing – Collaborating to Shape the Future From Datacenter to Devices."  During an hour-long presentation, he emphasized Intel's leadership position in mobile and datacenter computing and showed off new technologies including the company's upcoming Haswell platform, new voice and gesture control feature for Ultrabooks and a mobile payment system using NFC.

At approximately 9 a.m. local time, Perlmutter took the stage and started by talking about the events of September 11, 2011 which occurred 11 years ago today. Perlmutter talked about where he was when the attack occurred -- planning for what would become Intel's Centrino mobile platform. 

He said that by the end of the decade, Intel will be able to touch not just the billions of people that it affects today, but everyone around the globe. He also said that said that today also marks 15 years of Intel's Developer Forum, which started in 1997 and originally focused mainly on CPUs, but today encompasses all kinds of mobile and pervasive technologies.

Perlmutter talked about what "Reinventing Computing" means. "It's all about working together to really deliver the vision of touching everyone on earth," he said.

To show the breadth of Intel's products and services, he then held up two different Intel chips to show the difference in size: the tiny Medfield SoC on in his left hand and a high-powered Xeon server processor in his right hand. He said Intel's advantage is that it has so many capabilities under one roof, from software and services to manufacturing and transistors. 

"This is the era of the digital transformation," he said, talking about how data such as pictures and video moved from analog to digital. He said that the great thing is not just the data but our ability to analyze this media for trends and information. "It's about cloud and mobility and devices," he said.

He then spoke about datacenters. "The datacenter is not just about one thing," he said, speaking about the different kinds of infrastruture businesses need, from small services to big data. 

Mobile Personal Computing: Ultrabooks

Perlmutter then spoke about the transition from stationary to mobile computing. "This is just the beginning," he said, talking about the evolution from gray desktops to notebooks and today's Ultrabooks and tablets.  

He said that next year's Intel 4th Generation Core series processors will make a huge difference in mobile computing. He then showed off some of today's upcoming 3rd generation  Ultrabooks on stage, including the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga and Sony's VAIO Duo 11. He talked about the flexibility provided by convertible form factors that let you convert from notebook to tablet mode in a snap.

"Form factor is the basic," he said. "It is necessary but not sufficient." He then talked about all the other platform capabilites Ultrabooks need including instant on, full Hd displays, touch, and all day battery life. 

Perlmutter spoke about the evolution of computer input, from punchcards to keyboards to GUIs and now touch and gesture controls.  He then called a rep named Craig on stage to demo an impressive voice recognition application from Nuance that will be available on Ultrabooks in Q4. Craig tolled the Dragon digital assistant to search Amazon for sunglasses and Google for pics of San Francisco.

He also told it to play the song "Gagnam Style" and the name of a difficult-to-prounounce foreign song and the software accurately performed his requests. We were impressed with not only the software's responsiveness, but the way it overlayed its notifications on top of the screen. When Craig told it to share his Sunglasses page with Twitter, it showed his tweet. When he told it to play "rock music," it showed the player floating on top of the browser.

Perlmutter showed off a gesture control camera from Creative Labs, rotating a digital model of the sun by moving his hands in front of the notebook and then destroying the model by clapping.


He then invited MasterCard's Gary Flood to talk about ecommerce. Flood talked about creating an environment where it's easy for users to buy with a technology that's ubiquitous. He spoke about PayPass Wallet services for mobile payments, which MasterCard introduced in May. He said PayPass is open and flexible, white labeled for vendor customization and accessible because of its open API. 

Flood said that Intel's identity and protection technology makes sure they're properly connecting a consumer to a device. He then called Craig on stage to show how an NFC-enabled Ultrabook can pair with an NFC-enabled MasterCard to enable tap-to-pay on the web. While we watched, Craig logged into Tiger Direct and purchased a Toshiba Ultrabook by simply tapping a MasterCard against the notebook's deck; all of the payment details like the purchaser's name and address were automatically filled in, without typing anything into an online form.

Tablet Computing

Perlmutterr than talked about how Intel's architecture works well in the Enterprise, demoing a tablet based on Intel Atom and showing how a doctor could use it to show live ultrasounds or talk to other doctors via Skype.

He then called an Intel rep named David on stage to demonstrate a couple of Windows 8 slates in the ASUS Vevo Tab and the Dell XPS Duo 12. On the Duo 12, David showcased a video editing app that lets you change the color sof moving objects like a wind sail.


Perlmutter then talked about Intel's upcoming Haswell platform which is due to launch in 2013. "We've taken the architecture extremely seriously," he said, talking about how the company has been able to cut idle power by 20 times ompared to Ivy Brdige.

He demonstrated the same graphics benchmark on both an Ivy Bridge and Haswell, with the graphics twice as smooth and fast on Haswell. He also demonstrated that Haswell uses significantly less power than Ivy Bridge while running the same graphics demo.

Intelligent Systems

Perlmutter explained how Intel Core Series CPUs now power a variety of non-computing devices by demoing a Coke machine that contains an Intel CPU. While we watched he bought a soda from the Coke machine which shoewd animations of the drink and then took a photo of him buying it that he could share with his wife. However, he said the most interesting feature of a connected vending machine is its ability to gather data on who purchased what products and when.


He then talked about the value of collaboration between Intel, its developers and partners. He said that Intel's "ecosystem of ideals," including its standards platforms and cloud services, fuels innovations like touch and gesture recognition. 

"We are not just developing the applications as a way to ignite the industry,"  he said. He said that Intel is hosting a contest with a one million dollar prize to the developer that creates the best perceptual computing application (touch, gesture, etc).

He then reiterated Intel's vision which is "about creating a technology that touches and enriches everyone on mother earth." Then he showed a video about how technology can help global solve problems  like hunger, lack of water and health care issues.