Intel powers PCs for our new needs

The latest Intel vPro platforms underlines why we all still need PCs.

These are odd times for the PC industry. When IBM released the Personal Computer in 1981 it unleashed one of the most world-changing innovations ever seen. Even today the PC is big business with over 261 million units shipped in 2019. But, after years of very modest growth, COVID-19 has weighed heavily on supply, leading to a precipitous 12.3% sales decline for the first quarter of 2020. And that wasn't even its sharpest fall yet: in 2013 PC sales tumbled as buyers embraced tablets and smartphones. On the other hand, many of us rushed to buy PCs as lockdown struck and we needed to ensure we and our families had the core equipment needed to compute and communicate.

So, what's going on with the PC today? Due to turn 40 next year, is it suffering a midlife identity crisis or are there still plenty of reasons to believe that the PC remains full of vim? To help me decide, I spoke by phone to Stephanie Hallford, Intel's VP and GM for Business Client Platforms.

 

Upticks and new realities

"It's been extraordinary, unprecedented," she says of the COVID-19 period. "We've seen a real uptick in demand as we all grapple with working from home full-time. There's an uptick in terms of needs for performance, security and battery life, surprisingly, as well as remote manageability."

That battery life requirement appears to be because many of us are electing to work from different parts of our homes so we can't always be plugged into the mains. But what's unusual now may become everyday in the post-lockdown future.

"It'll be interesting as we go back to the new normal," Hallford says, contemplating the fact that after 14 years working on remote manageability of PCs, even greater value is being derived as IT admins necessarily help out employees working from home.

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