About eight years ago, Intel flexed its enormous power as one of the leading components manufacturers in the PC industry to improve the quality of the world's laptops with one word: "Ultrabook". Intel invested hundreds of millions of dollars in a marketing campaign for the latest laptops in the industry, but advertising came with one condition: those laptops would have to meet the most stringent weight loss, weight, responsiveness and duration standards of the battery.
Face the important challenge of the then-amazing MacBook Air, the PC industry signed – and within a few years, the quality of Windows hardware has certainly changed for the better.
Now, Intel is trying to take laptops to the next level with new technology. The flimsy plastic machines became metal, less delay became the norm, and now incredible machines arose like the Dell XPS 13 and the HP Specter x360. Program called Project Athena. But today, we are learning that Intel forgot to bring the most important component: a real brand.
As we discovered earlier this month, the Athena Project is not going to be a meaningless marketing campaign. In fact, Intel has set its sights on killing one of the biggest lies that the PC industry has told notebook buyers: battery life.
Intel says that Project Athena laptops should deliver 9 hours of battery life in the real world, surf the web through Wi-Fi, with its screen set to a brightness level (250 nits) that a user could have in the real world. This is important, since the benchmarks of today's laptops are everything, but when a PC manufacturer says that their new machine has 24 hours of battery life, it is usually measured when playing. a video that barely charges the processor, with Wi-Fi turned off. and low screen brightness to boot. Who uses a laptop like that?
Now, we're learning that battery life is just the beginning. Project Athena laptops should wake up from suspension in less than a second, be prepared to surf the web in less than two seconds thanks to the connected standby mode and have the same type of response in the battery they have when they are connected to Wall. In addition, they come with touchscreens, precision touch panels (trust us, it's a must), the latest Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, and enough RAM (8GB) and fast NVMe solid state storage (256GB) ) to address the basics for most users.  And Intel is not just going to leave these things to the manufacturers. You're going to try the shit out of some of these things, namely, battery life and responsiveness, because Intel believes that they are the basis for PCs that really meet the needs of modern users.
Basically, Intel is telling the world that it's going to work. to prevent manufacturers from cheating, in many of the ways they usually cheat when they are spending on one of the necessary components of a machine. And Intel says it will increase the level every year, as it did with Ultrabook, to make sure that the "Key Experience Indicators" (see previous slide) of a good experience with laptops are being met with each new machine.
I'm amazed, if there was not a dazzling hole compared to the successful Ultrabook campaign: Intel says there's no brand of Project Athena aimed at the consumer. Actually you will not see it when you enter a store. It will not be in the marketing materials or on a label on the laptop. There will be no clear way to tell your friends and family members that they have a little less PC knowledge than they really should look for a Project Athena laptop to ensure that they are getting a good experience, rather than anything else that might draw attention to the best. Buy either Amazon or Newegg shelf.
And that means there's no clear incentive for manufacturers to sign, to really compete to build new Athena Project machines and raise the bar for the entire industry. I suspect that OEMs will simply send laptops that they already know will be successful, and I wonder if they will be approved a lot at that time. Manufacturers seem to be very fond of announcing that their laptops can last 24 hours with the battery, and I can not easily see them accepting to cut that number instantly in half.
Intel says they gain access to technologies developed by Intel earlier, such as their low-power displays and access to labs and symposiums, but these were already a status quo for their partners. It's hard to imagine that Intel will suddenly keep ideas like that for a smaller range of partners if it already benefits from that intellectual property without doing so.
Intel says that this is only the first year for the Athena Project, and may incorporate a Brand or a subsequent marketing campaign. For now, it sounds like a good idea without teeth.