That my friends, is the future of All-in-One PCs. Not gimmicky control schemes or crazy thin designs. The module that we held in Intel’s booth at COMPUTEX earlier today is the future of All-in-One PCs, and possibly consoles and notebooks.
Let us explain. All-in-One PCs, like HP’s TouchSmart PC are excellent devices in their own right, but suffer from one serious flaw – the PC components that make them tick are usually obsolete in about a year or two years, simply because their innards are non-user replaceable. The display, ports, keyboard and touchscreen is still fine after two, three, or even five years of use, but the heart of the PC – the motherboard, processor and graphics are usually junk by the second or first year (depending on when in the refresh cycle you buy it in).
Intel’s Pluggable Module Architecture (PMA) is set to change all of that. Because that little circuit board you see in our hands contain all the necessary parts that make the PC tick – processor, memory and graphics. You plug that into a All-in-One PC and away you go. In three or two years time, when newer, faster processors have been made, you take it out and replace it with a new one, essentially reducing the cost of upgrading your device. Everything else is kept intact, which include the display, storage, hardware accouterments attached to the design.
Intel’s booth at COMPUTEX had a demo device that was running the PMA. The concept device was made with Compal, Celetica and LG and boasted a large 21:9 display. At the base of the display on the back was the space for the Intel processor compute module pictured above. Aside from the PMA, the concept device was also sporting a wireless charging module that an Intel rep said could charge the keyboard as well as the mouse wirelessy, which means in the future you no longer have to swap out batteries of the two devices, lessening the hassle of going completely wireless.
The Intel rep also told us that their PMA concept has already attracted the eye of console makers, and though he didn’t want to reveal who, he said that the chip company is already in talks with a console company to integrate the new technology into future consoles. Traditionally, consoles have short lives because of the limitations of the hardware – the PMA concept could change that, as companies like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo could have a hardware refresh of their consoles every three or two years, which lessens development cost dramatically, instead of creating and assembling brand new designs from scratch. This also gives developers a semi-stable set of hardware to work with, which allows them to create new gaming experiences without having to adjust to a whole new set of hardware, which should reduce the price of developing new games.
The Intel rep also told us that they are also working hard to integrate the wireless charging module into future notebooks and ultrabooks, and are working to release the tech late this year or early next year. We’ve embedded a video of the tech in action below.