Tech giants Intel and Dell unveil new and powerful products aimed at niches in beleaguered PC market that show some health.
Chipmaker Intel and personal-computer giant Dell are introducing new products ahead of CES, launching tools aimed at gamers, virtual-reality enthusiasts and business customers.
The announcements, an effort to target the healthier corners of a beleaguered PC market, come on the first day of news conferences before this week’s gathering in Las Vegas.
Tuesday’s announcements from Dell bring new entries into the company’s Alienware, Inspiron and Latitude laptop brands. Intel, builder of most of the brainlike central process units that power computers, was set to announce the latest chipsets built using its seventh-generation, Kaby Lake architecture.
PCs and the guts that power them typically take a back seat at CES, the former Consumer Electronics Show, as the focus at the massive trade show lands on areas like robotics, artificial intelligence and self-driving cars.
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The move to put more-capable PCs on that stage anyway comes as demand for the devices shrinks with consumers and businesses relying on smartphones and buying or replacing computers less often.
Researcher Gartner estimates 442 million personal computers and tablets were sold worldwide in 2016, down 8.6 percent from the year before. Another decline, to 439 million units, is expected this year.
New Dell Alienware gaming laptops, with screen sizes from 13 inches to 17 inches and integrated graphics-boosting from Nvidia and Intel chips, have starting prices from $999 to $1,349.99. A 15-inch, gaming-focused Inspiron 15 7000, starts at $799. All are available in the U.S. this week.
A business-focused Latitude two-in-one touch-screen laptop, the 5285, starts at $899 and will be available by March, following a slate of updates to Dell’s XPS line announced on Monday.
Lenovo and HP, the world’s two largest PC makers by sales, also unveiled high-end computers aimed at gamers and professionals.
Some of the computers announced this week are powered by the latest set of Intel processors unveiled Tuesday.
Intel’s new chipsets include tools for businesses to manage employees’ computers, improve speed and display videos shot in 4K resolution.
The new series is a small step forward by Intel’s standards, as the company’s effort to make smaller, more powerful brains for computers runs into some physical constraints.
The company last year broke with its ticktock development model, under which Intel would introduce a smaller chip-manufacturing technology, and follow that with a new architecture every 12 to 18 months.
Kaby Lake is the third generation of chipsets built on the 14-nanometer manufacturing technology Intel first shipped to customers in 2014.
Intel, Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor are all working on 10 nm chips, with commercial availability of some expected this year.
Symantec goes hardware route
Digitally securing the home used to mean buying anti-virus computer software and avoiding malicious links in email inboxes.
Locking down the connected home of the future, with televisions, thermostats, light bulbs and refrigerators all trying to talk to each other, likely won’t be that simple.
Norton, the cybersecurity software brand owned by Symantec, is taking a stab at remedying a part of that new vulnerability, launching a Wi-Fi router designed to protect the connected home and its devices from bad guys.
The Norton Core, introduced Tuesday ahead of the media events that precede the kickoff of CES in Las Vegas, scans every packet of data it sends and receives for malware, viruses and intrusions.
If a device that tries to connect to the network has known vulnerabilities, the router quarantines it on a segregated network and sends an alert to its owner.
A security-score feature is designed to provide a dashboard displaying the safety of the network.
Norton Core also comes with embedded parental controls.
The router can support network speeds of up to 2.5 gigabits of data per second, and is powered by a 1.7 GHz processor.
The device, starting at $199, is available for preorders in North America on Tuesday, with shipment expected in the summer. It comes with one year of security software protection for up to 20 smartphones, tablets, and computers, and unlimited “internet of things” connected home devices.