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Intel’s Project Athena could help solve the most hated laptop flaw

Intel has announced the first set of specifications for Project Athena, its seal of quality which will guarantee that Athena-certified laptops will give you a working days’ worth of battery power, integrated AI acceleration and a machine that’ll power on in less than a second.

While Project Athena may just be a list of requirements in order to get Intel’s coveted seal of approval, it’s likely it will push manufacturers to create laptops with long-lasting battery life, which would prevent the hated scenario of having a machine that can’t even outlast a working day.

Gregory Bryant, Intel’s senior vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group, said that the first devices will hit the shelves by Christmas, will feature new Ice Lake processors, and there will be plenty to choose from.

“We have over 100 companies who are comm to doing the deep co-ed engineering in labs, like the one we’ve opened here in Taipei,” Bryant said, referencing one of three new facilities around the world Intel’s opened to help OEM partners reach Athena certification.

Related: Intel Ice Lake

Bryant called Lenovo’s senior vice president for Consumer Devices, Johnson Jia, out on the stage to show off the Lenovo Yoga S940, which will be one of the first Project Athena laptops to go on sale.

“This machine has a 12.2mm thin design and is just 1.2kg in the weight… and this model has a long-lasting battery,” Jia said.

As well as the Yoga S940, refreshed versions of the Acer Swift 5 and HP 13 Envy going on sale later this year have already been given Athena status by Intel.

What else will you get from a Project Athena laptop? 16 hours of video playback and the ability to get 4 hours of charge in under 30 mins with the supplied mains adapter, as well as the 9 hours of battery for ‘real life’ work applications.

AI features will also be included in Athena machines as standard. Bryant said that the Athena blueprint “brings AI at scale to the PC system,” but didn’t elaborate on this during his speech. It’s likely that this means the Intel DL Boost system will help keep tabs on your most used programs and ensure there’s enough memory set aside for the things you want to do the most, but that’s still to be confirmed.

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