Intel has introduced its first lineup of fourth-generation Core vPro processors at the Intel Developer Forum, highlighting some additions to the business-oriented vPro platform which bring it more in line with the needs of a mobile workforce.
The new vPro parts are now shipping to computer makers and will start appearing in business laptops, ultrabooks, all-in-ones, desktops, tablets, and hybrid "2-in-1" devices which function as both tablets and laptops in "early 2014," the company said.
Intel introduced vPro several years ago, as a platform for laptops and desktops with more robust security and remote management capabilities than you could find in consumer PCs, features appealing to IT administrators.
Now, in response to the bring-your-own-device movement and new usage models in the workplace, the company is expanding the capabilities and makeup of vPro hardware to meet those new demands, said Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's PC Client Group.
"The dynamics of business computing have changed dramatically in the last several years and Intel is delivering its broadest range of business solutions ever," Skaugen said.
"The new fourth-generation Intel Core vPro processors provide features that both enterprise workers and IT managers want: exciting form factors including 2-in-1s, ultrabooks, and touch-based laptops with security built in, easy automation, and new compute models that are both flexible and secure. There is also a new range of built-in hardware features specifically targeted at increasing business productivity."
In addition to the performance boost from the move to Intel's latest Core processors, vPro now includes such features as a no-password VPN log in process, indoor location-based services for locating common assets like printers and projectors, Intel Pro Wireless Display technology, improved data syncing, and other features designed to marry traditional vPro security and manageability with the "needs of business workers who require flexibility to create and collaborate," the company said.
The expansion of vPro to a host of new form factors beyond laptops and desktops may prove the most appealing change in the platform. Among the "70 upcoming designs" based on the fourth-generation Intel Core vPro platform, for example, are fast-booting ultrabooks, tablets, and 2-in-1s sporting Intel's Pro1500 solid state drive (SSD) and enhanced battery life, theoretically matching the performance and usability expectations business users have for their similar personal devices.
"We are knocking down the barriers that exist between the business end user and IT, to create devices that satisfy the needs of both," said Rick Echevarria, vice president and general manager of Intel's Business Client Platforms Division.
"With fourth-generation Intel Core vPro, enterprises can be assured of a device that can run longer, is more secure, and is more productive than in years past."