Chipmaker Intel is taking its partners on a radical journey that aims to shape the development of future notebooks by redefining technology standards for the modern notebook.
This initiative is called Project Athena, an “innovation program” that was announced in late 2019. With it, Intel aims to “Raise the bar on PC experiences” by improving on every facet of modern notebook design.
If you remember the Ultrabook fad of a few years back, you’ll know that this isn’t the first time Intel has done this. When it came to Ultrabooks, Intel worked to get all of its partners on board with the standardisation of a certain thinness, lightness, and battery life in order for them to build products they could put the Ultrabook label on.
The same principle applies here, but to the wider notebook market and with a different set of standardised characteristics.
The Project Athena Vision
The official Project Athena page on Intel’s website lays out the vision:
“Intel recognized that people keep demanding more from their laptops. They want to flow seamlessly between work, home, and passion projects. So Project Athena set the vision for a new generation of the most advanced PCs. It brings together the best of Intel and the industry.”
The main approach Intel is taking is to lead the development of future notebooks with the idea of satisfying the needs of the humans that use them first, instead of letting new technologies dictate the user experience.
To this end, Project Athena is bringing together world-class designers and focusing development around how real people in real situations work with their notebooks, instead of doing controlled testing in sterile laboratories that don’t reflect the use-case conditions of the outside world.
Not forgetting the most demanding user base, Project Athena is also driving innovation by taking a close look at what the most powerful of power users demand from their notebooks, and adapting future notebooks to tick those boxes too.
The metrics being targeted as a result of Intel’s research are fast resume times, long battery life, and hyper-responsiveness whether on battery or mains – all exactly the features any hardened reviewer will you dramatically affect the overall user experience of any notebook.
And once a notebook has been designed to these criteria, Intel tests them intensively to ensure they do indeed tick all of the right boxes.
Intel states on its Project Athena page that “Each laptop must pass rigorous testing, then meet or surpass the program’s stringent Key Experience Indicators (KEIs), which supplement industry benchmarks. They ensure consistent and satisfying PC experiences.”
Good results delivered
The initiative has already yielded some great results. For instance, the HP Elite Dragonfly 2-in-1 which hit the market earlier this year is a Project Athena-certified notebook that weighs less than a kilo, performs like a dream, and which still manages to offer 24+ hours of battery on a single charge.
In the coming months we should see even more Project Athena-certified notebooks arriving on our shores from all of Intel’s partners.
For the full rundown of what Project Athena is and how it’s going about achieving its objectives, check out the official page here.