Intel Demos Project Tango Smartphone And Ultra-Fast 3D Xpoint Optane Drive For The First Time At IDF 2015

After a Rube Goldberg machine did its thing and launched a few drones into the air above the crowd at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich took the stage to kick off the Intel Developers Forum with an opening keynote address.

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"I", "D", "F" Bubble-Drones Hovering Over The Crowd

During his keynote, Krzanich outlined three assumptions Intel is making about the future of computing. The three assumptions include the “sensification” of computing, which is a fancy way of saying computers will continue to use the senses sight, sound, and touch. The second assumption is that more and more devices moving forward will be “smart and connected” and the third is that these devices will become an “extension on you”, the end user.

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Intel Showed Off A RealSense Equipped Smartphone Today

Throughout his keynote, Krzanich outlined Intel’s plans to push its various technologies, like Smart Sound and RealSense, and of course its processors, into more products that support these assumptions. But a few things in particular stood out. For one, Intel’s CEO showed off a prototype Project Tango-based smartphone that was equipped with an Intel RealSense camera. And then later, a working prototype of a 3DXscale-based storage product was benchmarked against a PCI Express SSD DC3700 series enterprise-class drive.

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Project Tango / RealSense Smartphone Prototype

Later in the keynote, Krzanich proclaimed that Intel plans to lead in 5G wireless connectivity, in both modem and infrastructure, but didn’t talk much about wireless connected products, like smartphones. The smartphone he did show off, however, was shown 3D mapping a space in real-time. As we mentioned, the smartphone was based on Google’s Project Tango and featured an Intel RealSense camera, which can capture traditional images along with depth/distance data. As the camera panned around the space, furniture, walls, etc. were captured and mapped in a 3D space. This is the kind of thing Project Tango is known for, but this was the first time a prototype smartphone with Project Tango and a RealSense camera was shown publicly. As an aside, Intel also mentioned that its RealSense camera are now supported on wide range of platforms, including Windows, Android, and many others.

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Razer Has A RealSense Camera Accessory On The Way

As the Keynote progressed, numerous devices like a RealSense camera accessory from Razer, wearables from Fossil, and even a RealSense-equipped robotic butler were brought out on stage, but at the end one of the most exciting technologies to be announced recently—3D Xpoint Memory—was demoed live for the first time.

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The Intel Optane Demo System

If you missed the original announcement a few weeks back, 3D Xpoint is a new type of memory that’s non-volatile like NAND flash, but highly-durable and fast like DRAM. 3DXpoint memory can reportedly be up to 1000X faster and more durable than today’s NAND, and 10x denser than DRAM, while offering lower latency. Those kind of performance characteristics won’t be realized until the technology matures and computer architectures change to fully exploit it, but products based on 3D Xpoint will arrive as early as next year.

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The Optane Prototype Was 5-7X Faster Than An SSD DC3700 Series Drive

The prototype drive, which will be branded Intel Optane when it arrives, was shown running a number of workloads in IOMeter, side by side with an Intel SSD DC3700 series enterprise-class PCIe SSD. Throughout the demo, the Optane / 3D Xpoint drive was roughly 5 – 7x faster than the DC3700, which is no small feat. Those numbers don’t come close to 3D Xpoint’s potential, but then again, the demo system was using today’s technology.

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Intel Optane Technology Unveiled

Intel also mentioned that in addition to storage devices, DIMMs will be introduced for future Xeon-based systems, featuring 3D Xpoint technology.