AI goes PC professional at MWC 2024

 

MWC 2024: Late last year, Intel introduced its new Intel Core Ultra family of processors, aimed at enabling the AI ​​PC era with the company’s first processors to feature a built-in NPU. Following the launch in December, the company’s OEM customers came up with various systems that take advantage of Core Ultra capabilities. While some AI applications are still quite new, Intel is undoubtedly one of the companies that can turn a piece of new technology into a mass-market, widely adopted new feature.

At the recently concluded Mobile World Congress 2024 event, Intel once again showed off a series of new PCs based on Intel Core Ultra, as well as its professional vPro technology aimed at bringing AI PCs to the enterprise. Intel’s two largest OEM partners, Dell and Lenovo, were introducing new business laptops with vPro and Core Ultra to enable the latest AI experiences in professional environments.

 

Dell laptop offering with Intel Core Ultra

Dell introduced a series of commercial PCs at MWC 2024 that combine Intel Core Ultra and vPro. For starters, Dell announced upgrades to its entire line of Latitude business laptops, which serve business users in several different models, moving them from the previous-generation 3000 series to Dell’s flagship 9000-series nomenclature. has shifted. The Dell Latitude 9450 two-in-one is what Dell claims to be the world’s smallest 14-inch commercial PC with Mini-LED display technology; It is also equipped with a new HDR webcam and Wi-Fi 7. Moving down the stack, the Latitude 7000 series comes in 13-, 14- and 16-inch screen sizes and offers a two-in-one form factor as well as a 13-inch. – and a 14-inch ultralight model. Dell clearly has a lot of variety within the 7000 series.

Two excellent laptops of the family are the 7350 and 7450 Ultralight laptops with Intel Core Ultra and 5 MP webcams. There is also a 7350 detachable model, which Dell claims is the world’s most useful commercial detachable, inspired by Dell’s Project Luna. Moving further down the stack, the Latitude 5000 series offers AI capabilities in 13-, 14- and 15-inch sizes, as well as a 13-inch two-in-one. At the bottom of the stack is the (new) Latitude 3000 series, which still provides a point of entry for users transitioning to an AI PC. The Dell Latitude 7350 Detachable will be available in Q2 2024, while the rest of the Latitude lineup will be available in March.

The Precision line of laptops is Dell’s family of mobile workstations, which have also received the Intel Core Ultra treatment, paired with Nvidia’s latest generation of Ada GPUs. For Dell’s Precision family, there are two levels of performance: the 3000 series and the 5000 series. Dell offers the 3490 and 3590 workstations with RTX 500 Ada graphics paired with Core Ultra, while the Precision 5490 and 5690 offer 14- and 16-inch models with up to Nvidia’s RTX 5000.

Lenovo – ThinkPad and Prototype PC

Not to be left out of the commercial AI PC party, Lenovo also announced a wide range of new notebooks taking advantage of the new Core Ultra processors. Lenovo’s ThinkPad series is the tip of its commercial notebook spear, making up the majority of its new commercial AI PCs powered by Intel’s Core Ultra and vPro technologies. That said, not all PCs announced by Lenovo feature Intel Core Ultra; Specifically, the ThinkPad T14 Gen 5 (14-inch AMD) features AMD’s new 8040 Ryzen processor with AMD’s XDNA AI architecture. (For more on AMD’s approach to AI PCs, check out this article I did in December.)

Lenovo’s T16 Gen 3 notebook features a Core Ultra processor, but it also features Lenovo’s new Advanced Repairability thanks to the company’s collaboration with iFixit, representatives of which were actually present at Lenovo’s booth during MWC 2024. Lenovo also announced an Intel flavor of the ThinkPad T14, featuring Intel Core Ultra with vPro, and it announced the Intel-based T14s Gen 5, which also includes advanced repair capabilities through the iFixit partnership.

The T16 and T14s models are at the heart of Lenovo’s ThinkPad lineup, which means Lenovo is taking repairs seriously for some of its most important products. Ultimately, repairability is good for the user and the enterprise because it reduces repair costs and keeps systems in use longer, which is naturally better than trying to recycle them.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X12 Gen 2 is a sleek system with a 3:2 aspect ratio that’s clearly designed to compete with the Microsoft Surface. The X12 Gen 2 also features an Intel Ultra U-Series processor and supports up to 32GB of LPDDR5X RAM, making it capable of significant productivity. It has a 5 MP front-facing webcam and IR camera for Windows Hello. It also has an 8 MP world-facing camera for video and photos, even though it lacks the photo and video capture experience on Windows. The system also continues a quirk I’ve noticed on other ThinkPad systems recently: It has 4G LTE support, but no mention of 5G. While I understand that some enterprises aren’t actively using cellular, it doesn’t make sense to support 4G given that so many networks are deprecating 4G coverage and speeds.

Last but certainly not least is Lenovo’s ThinkBook Project Crystal Concept System, which got a lot of buzz at Mobile World Congress. This 17.3-inch notebook is already larger than most of the systems Lenovo makes available today. The company says it leverages MicroLED transparent display technology to enable a completely transparent viewing experience. This achieves two things: it creates the potential for AR displays inside laptops, and it means the display can enable a completely bezel-less viewing experience, allowing for an even smaller footprint for such a large display. May be ready. It’s still a concept, but one of the biggest sacrifices will likely be losing Windows Hello and a webcam, at least until Lenovo and its display partners figure out how to implement that technology with the new display. Go.

samsung book4 series

Following Dell and Lenovo’s updates to their systems with Intel Core Ultra processors, the Samsung Book4 family of PCs is quite similar in its iterative nature. While there don’t appear to be any significant differences compared to the previous generation, Samsung continues its four-device family that includes the Galaxy Book4, Book4 360, Book4 Pro 360, and the Book4 Ultra. The Book 4 Pro is the only model that comes in 14- and 16-inch sizes, while the 360 ​​only comes in 15.6-inch and the Pro 360 and Ultra come in 16-inch. (These are all AMOLED 2X displays.) Once again, the Ultra is the only SKU that offers Intel’s fastest Ultra 9 Series 185H processor and discrete Nvidia RTX graphics. That said, it’s great to see Samsung entering the AI ​​PC era along with the rest of PC OEMs, and it’ll be great to find out how these systems perform against the competition.

wrapping up

Intel and its partners were present at MWC 2024 with a wide range of newly refreshed commercial PCs featuring the new Core Ultra processors. The current focus of Intel and its partners is to refresh as many Intel Core Ultra systems as possible with AI without messing too much with the rest of the formula. This means a focus on ensuring that core ultra-powered machines deliver a better overall experience with the added benefit of an onboard NPU for AI applications.

Intel’s approach isn’t entirely NPU-centric, given that it also sees other cores, including GPUs, CPUs, and ASICs, playing important roles for AI. That said, there’s no doubt that most developers—along with Intel’s competition—focus on the NPU portion of these processors for performant and power-efficient AI applications. The AI ​​tsunami from CES has continued through to MWC 2024, and frankly, I think we’ll continue to see AI at the center of most things this year, especially because almost every PC announced at both CES and MWC can be considered an AI PC. Could. There are still more launches to come later this year, including from Microsoft and Qualcomm, so there’s still a lot to pay attention to as the market evolves and embraces native AI compute.

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