Edge of Innovation

Apollo Lake and 6 other cool things at IDF 2016 Shenzhen

Dean Evans Technology Writer Twitter

Back in April, Navin Shenoy, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel’s Client Computing Group, took to the stage at the 2016 Intel Developers Forum in Shenzhen, China.

Where IDF 2015 saw Skylake, Optane and Project Tango make an appearance, at IDF 2016 Shenzhen Shenoy showcased an array of exciting technology from electric motorbikes to RealSense Compute Sticks.

Yes, you heard that right. An Intel Compute Stick with a built-in RealSense camera. Why? By plugging this Core M-powered mini PC into a side-mounted USB port on your HDTV, the F200 depth-sensing camera can point straight at you. This allows you to log in to Windows (or third party apps) using the Windows Hello feature, or control the OS using gestures.

RealSense Compute Stick at IDF 2016 Shenzhen
Navin Shenoy introduces a RealSense-equipped Compute Stick at IDF 2016 Shenzhen.

In addition, Shenoy officially announced that Intel’s next generation value CPU platform will be known by the codename Apollo Lake.

“We will launch this product in the second half of this year,” he explained. “Apollo Lake is our follow-on to our Cherry Trail or Atom X5 products and our Braswell products — our Celeron and Pentium products. You’ll see an improved processor, [Gen9] graphics performance… You’ll see much longer battery life.”

What does Apollo Lake mean for the likes of you and I? In short, it will mean lighter-weight, super-thin laptops, 2 in 1s, mini PC systems and tablets that don’t skimp on performance, storage or memory to hit an attractive value price point.

The $5,995 (£4,120) Bolt M-1 is hardly cheap, nor is the electric, zero emissions hybrid motorbike new. But the model that zoomed on stage at Shenzhen featured a built-in Intel Edison chip, plugged into a suite of bike monitoring sensors. Powered by Lithium Ion batteries, the M-1 has a range of 80 km (50 miles) and a top speed of 64 km/h (40 mph).

Until flying machines like the Volocopter VC200 get the legal go-ahead, this is perfect commuting technology.

Bolt M-1 electric motorbike with Intel Edison
This Bolt M-1 electric motorbike features an array of sensors controlled by an Intel Edison board.

From drone racing to drone near misses, unmanned aerial vehicles are always in the news. Intel used IDF 2016 Shenzhen to introduce a new Intel Aero Platform for UAV — a ready-to-fly, drone-specific development kit, powered by a quad-core Intel Atom CPU and featuring support for Intel RealSense technology. The aim? To make it easier and more cost effective to develop new drone hardware.

Every IDF involves a showcase of new PC form factors — big, small and everything inbetween. The Shenzhen 2016 gathering was no different. On the big side, Shenoy showed off a HP’s curved, all-in-one Envy PC with its eye-catching 34-inch WQHD display and 6th generation Intel Core processor.

But mini PCs also caught the eye, disproving the often popular belief that ‘the desktop is dead.’ Far from it. After the Razer Blade Stealth impressed earlier this year with its ability to add an external desktop graphics enclosure via Thunderbolt, modular PC systems are taking the idea several steps further.

Acer Revo Build Mini PC at IDF 2016 Shenzhen
The Acer Revo Build is a compact base unit that can be stacked with additional modular upgrades.

The Acer Revo Build, for example, starts with a compact base unit onto which you can magnetically stack extra modules — 2TB hard drive modules, a Graphics Block, an Audio Block and even a wireless charging module.

While the Lenovo IdeaCenter 610s isn’t as customisable, the triangular-cased PC can plug-and-play with a modular projector that sits on top of it, beaming 720p video across 110 inches of wall or screen.

This isn’t everything that was on show at IDF 2016 Shenzhen. For more details and videos of the keynote speeches by Navin Shenoy, Diane Bryant and Ian Yang, click here. IDF 2016 San Francisco takes place August 16-18.

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