At its heart, Intel is looking to help foster the introduction of premium laptops with thin display bezels, ultra-fast wake times when opening the display lid, battery life that lasts a full day or more, ubiquitous connectivity, and all with an emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI) to help optimize systems and help you to more efficiently carry out your day-to-day tasks. Powering these systems will be Intel's new 10nm Sunny Cove processor platform.
There's also one last piece to the puzzle and that's 5G connectivity. 5G is by no means commonplace in the United States currently, and is only available in a handful of markets. However, Intel and many others are banking on 5G really taking off over the next few years, and consumers will want to take advantage of those blazing fast 5G wireless speeds and new services when on-the-go.
Our own Marco Chiappetta recently had a chance to sit down and talk with Gregory M. Bryant, who serves as Intel's Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Client Computing Group. Bryant was able to explain Intel's primary motivator behind creating Project Athena and what it hopes to accomplish.
"One of the things we’ve learned over the years is that a great PC experience means different things to different people, from gamers to content creators to office workers," said Bryant. "This is where you see us focusing. We want to give our partners everything they need to create incredible and differentiated PCs, purpose-built to what real people want."
Although it's quite readily apparent how thin and light chassis designs, thin bezels and 5G connectivity can benefit users, the need for AI can be a bit trickier to explain to consumers. Bryant says that the possibilities are endless, but suggests, "Imagine intelligent videoconferencing capabilities that make it super-easy to connect. Or, meaningful improvements in battery life because the system dynamically adjusts to give you as many hours as possible."
One area that's a little unclear is what technology will power 5G connectivity for Project Athena machines. Intel may have exited the market for 5G smartphone modems but that doesn't mean development for other edge devices like laptops has ceased as well.
Regardless, according to Bryant, the first Project Athena devices will launch in the latter half of 2019 and we should expect to see production ramp in 2020. And Project Athena won't be limited to Windows 10-based machines; Intel is working with Google to ensure that Chromebooks also benefit from the overarching premise of this new initiative.