PC cables will be a thing of the past if Intel has its way with Skylake, the company's next-generation micro-architecture. At the Computex 2014 trade show this week in Taiwan, Intel revealed how Skylake would enable the use of wireless docking and even wireless power transfer. Different standards would be used for each of the wireless capabilities but they would come together in the company's processors.
Skylake will serve as the successor to Broadwell, Intel's coming processor platform that was also on display at Computex. Once Skylake is released, data and power cables to any number of devices will disappear. With this technology, the personal computer could be free from the majority of cables within the next few years and wireless capabilities will then extend beyond desktops as more companies become involved.
It has long been a dream of some futurists that power delivery systems will be built into surfaces like walls and tables, providing easy ways to charge devices. Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president at Intel, demonstrated during Computex how wireless power delivery would work and gave those same futurists a glimpse of their dream. Using a magnetic resonance charging technology called Rezence, devices can be charged if they are in contact with a table that is outfitted with the technology.
Rezence has been promoted by the Alliance 4 Wireless Power (A4WP), which includes companies like Dell, Lenovo, Panasonic and Intel. The technology could be useful since magnetic resonance charging can take place through 2 inches of wood. Plus, multiple devices can be charged at the same time, all without cords.
Skaugen said Intel was working with a range of partners to integrate Rezence in a variety of devices outside of desktop computers. Phones, tablets, and laptops could all work perfectly with Rezence, but a timeline for that level of integration was not mentioned.
Displays, Peripherals and Data
Wireless charging has already begun to roll out with certain smartphones and tablets, but wireless connections to displays, for example, is not something commonplace in the market. Attaining a cable-free future for desktops and laptops will not be possible unless those physical connections can become wireless for up to a 4K display as well. Charging is a big part of the wireless future but connecting PCs to a display without a wire is relatively new.
Using the high-speed WiGig standard, Intel says docking technology will be possible. WiGig is capable of speeds up to 7 Gbps and so should allow for smooth connections. With WiGig, Intel says, instant connections between a device and its peripherals could be possible.
WiGig was first outlined in 2010 as a standard that would use unlicensed 60 GHz spectrum to achieve the fast transfer rates. A4WP has also promoted the use of WiGig as a way to connect devices, though it will have to be used by many companies before the standard becomes prevalent.