Intel has been encouraging demand for PCs with promises of wireless machines for the last three years. However, at Computex Taipei 2016, the chip maker did not talk much about wireless devices, but rather, it talked a lot about connected devices and the cloud.
Changing priorities to blame
At Computex Taipei 2015, Kirk Skaugen, senior PC exec at Intel, said, “We carry about six cables each for our phones, our tablets and our PCs. We want to get rid of all those cables.”
However, Skaugen has since left the chip making giant. Also four Intel representatives resigned from their posts at the AirFuel Alliance last Tuesday. AirFuel Alliance is an industry group that aims to accelerate wireless charging standards, according to Forbes.
In the emails detailing the resignations from the AirFuel Alliance committees, Intel executives cited the chip maker’s plan to realign strategic priorities, the media outlet said. Intel’s growth has been driven by its PC division, referred to as the Client Computing Group. The PC division sold $7.4 billion worth of microprocessors, contributing around 54% of the chip maker’s total revenue and 73% of its operating income in the first quarter of 2016.
However, since 2011, sales of personal computers have been declining all over the world. In 2015, global shipments of PCs fell 10.3%, the largest decline in history, according to IDC. The number of units dropped to 300 million last year for the first time since 2008.
During the earnings call in April, CEO Brian Krzanich told investors and analysts that they are evolving from a PC company to a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected and computing devices.
Intel confirms the closure
Intel confirmed in an email to Forbes that it was ending its wireless charging development efforts.
“Our strategy behind our internal development work to date was primarily focused on accelerating the ecosystem, which has largely happened,” the company stated in the email.
For Intel, moving wireless charging from cell phones to laptops and other computers has been a problem as bigger gadgets need more power, the report says.
John Perzow, vice president of market development at the Wireless Power Consortium, said, “Depending on what you are trying to do, they need between 30 and 60 watts.”
The increase in power brings an increase in inefficiency, but it makes it even more difficult to stay within federal safety limits. These problems were tackled by the Wireless Power Consortium by transferring power at lower frequencies between 110 and 205 KHz, but Intel favored a much higher frequency of 6.78 MHz, which is advocated by the AirFuel Alliance.