Project Athena is Intel’s next generation Always Connected PC spec

At Intel’s CES 2019 presentation the company announced a number of processor innovations, but it is its 2019 laptop reference designs which will likely be most influential when it comes to the devices we will be carrying around this year.

This year Intel’s push is Project Athena, a still poorly defined reference design aimed at making laptops more relevant to users by making them somewhat more smartphone-like.

The design has a number of pillars – Instant-on, long battery life, high speed, reliable connectivity (likely via 5G), adaptable form factors and the most poorly defined of them all, AI-based features which makes the devices more intelligent and proactive.

‘Based on extensive research to understand how people use their devices and the challenges they face,’ claims Intel of the initiative, ‘the annual spec combines key areas of innovation to deliver laptops that are purpose-built to help people focus, adapt to life’s roles and always be ready.’ This includes, but is not limited to, requirements for a maximum time from lid-open to action, minimum performance and responsiveness, full-day battery life, ‘always-ready’ wireless connectivity, and integration of artificially intelligent capabilities to ‘proactively assist, filter, adapt, and optimise [the] system.’

Intel calls devices which meet the criteria a new class of “advanced laptops.” A number of OEMs have agreed to deliver laptops which meets the spec, and Intel will engage with these companies with ‘extensive co-engineering support and innovation pathfinding’ and also certify the devices as Project Athena-compliant. Both Windows and ChromeOS are supported.

Companies who have agreed to work to the spec include all the big names including Acer, Asus, BOE, Compal, Dell, EDO, Google, HP, Huawei, Huaqin, Innolux, Lenovo, Microsoft, Pegatron, Quanta Computer, Samsung, Sharp, Wistron, and Xiaomi’s Mi arm.

Intel has not said when these devices will be hitting the market, but we assume the mid-year back to school season would be a good launch point.

See Intel’s sizzle reel showing off some interesting form factors below:

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