Intel Launches a New Generation of Processors

Intel has announced what it calls its "6th generation Intel Core processor family." The new chip series, which is based on the Skylake chip architecture, offers improved performance, as well as better power usage and enhanced security features.

The processors offer three times the battery life of the systems available five years ago at double the performance. The new design also leads to faster wakeup times. Although the days are over when a new processor announcement could cause power users to discard a system they just purchased the year before, Intel points out that more than 500 million computers in use today are four to five years old, and these systems will see vast improvements with an upgrade.

Although Intel owns the PC computer market for home and business users, the company faces increased competition from the new generation of tablets, many of which run on ARM-based chips. To maintain its market dominance, the company needs to build a case for the presence of full-featured laptop and desktop PCs, rather than lighter and simpler tablet systems.

The new processors are designed to work with Windows 10, and the company says it is "making a push" toward achieving long-sought features such as wireless charging. Intel's RealSense camera technology will support better facial recognition and gesture control.

Market for Conventional Server Hardware Is Up

Contrary to popular predictions, the enterprise server market really isn't shrinking. According to the latest report from IDG's Worldwide Quarterly Tracker series for servers, Ethernet switches, and routers, the market for server hardware was up 6.1 percent in the second quarter of 2015 compared with the second quarter of 2014. Overall server sales were $13.48 billion.

Conventional wisdom has held that the growth of the cloud has reduced the demand for conventional hardware, but server sales remain strong. Part of the explanation might be the rise of enterprise local cloud technologies that depend on virtualization but run on local hardware. Another possibility is an overall uptick in business activity. In any case, the predictions of flight to the cloud seem premature.

Google Gets into the Router Business

Google has entered the market for home networking hardware with the announcement of a new wireless router and smartphone hub, which the company calls "a different kind of router for a new way to Wi-Fi."

The OnHub router, which is manufactured in partnership with router vendor TP-LINK, comes with several innovations that Google says will improve security and performance. The router is designed to "… search the airwaves and select the best channel for the fastest connection." The device automatically adjusts to avoid interference, thereby improving performance.

Automatic updates will install patches and add new features as they become available. Google has said it won't use the new router to monitor user activity, other than the behavior it is monitoring anyway through Google search and other online services. The list price for the OnHub router is $199.99, and the device will be available through the Google Store, Amazon, Walmart, and other retailers.

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