Project Athena Second Edition Specification: A Conversation with Josh Newman

Intel's innovation program, Project Athena, is leading the PC ecosystem to deliver a new class of advanced laptops. We sat down with Josh Newman, VP and GM of Mobile Innovation, to discuss how the program continues to evolve with the release of Project Athena's second edition specification.

QuestionLet's start with a simple question: what is a Project Athena specification?

Josh Newman: It’s our way of translating real-world, human needs into technical requirements for our OEM partners. We know that people want laptops that are more responsive, have longer battery life, and are ready to go when they are, so we created a design and system specification that enables these capabilities and experiences.

The Project Athena specification is a collection of measurement and technology requirements that support delivering the experiences we have identified people want from our research. The spec sets baseline requirements for the laptop's technologies and performance on key experience indicators (KEIs), as well as a menu of additional, optional innovation items like unique AI usages or stylus compliant. Laptops must meet these requirements to be verified as part of Project Athena.

The Project Athena specification is a collection of measurement and technology requirements that support delivering the experiences we have identified people want from our research. The spec sets baseline requirements for the laptop's technologies and performance on key experience indicators (KEIs), as well as a menu of additional, optional innovation items like unique AI usages or stylus compliant. Laptops must meet these requirements to be verified as part of Project Athena.

Q: What's new in the second edition specification?

Josh Newman: The launch of Project Athena's first edition spec in 2019 was an important milestone, and one that focused the industry on a common goal.

With the second edition, we've updated the measurement process and raised our targets while integrating all of the benefits of 11th Gen Intel® Core™ processors with Intel® Iris® Xe graphics. We evolved the key experiences, intensified the workload based on insights from our latest research. We've paid particular attention to the interaction between local and cloud-based tasks so that you can seamlessly stream YouTube or collaborate on Zoom, even while all of your go-to apps like Chrome, Spotify or Twitter run in the background.

In addition to consistent responsiveness for every-day tasks,1 these laptops wake up in less than one second, have battery life that will last more than 9 hours on full HD display configurations,2 and are able to charge 4 hours of battery life in less than 30 minutes on FHD.3 And all of these devices will come in sleek, thin and light form factors that invite creativity, immersion, and collaboration.

Q: How is Intel® Evo™ platform connected to Project Athena?

Josh Newman: Intel® Evo™ platform represents a whole new class of laptops built to help people get things done. And Intel® Evo™ platform is made possible by Project Athena. Specifically, only those laptop designs that are co-engineered and verified to meet the requirements for the 2nd edition Project Athena specification will be badged with the new Intel® Evo™ platform brand.4 The Project Athena innovation program will continue as a multi-year industry innovation program to focus on research insights, experiential innovation, advanced co-engineering, an annual premium specification and real-world testing and methodology.

Q: What does Intel's new 11th Gen Intel® Core™ architecture mean for the second edition spec?

Josh Newman: 11th Gen Intel® Core™ is not only foundational to the second edition spec, but a big leap forward for Intel and for Project Athena.

11th gen delivers the world's best CPU for laptops and the immersive visuals of Intel® Iris® Xe graphics is going to grab people's attention.5 This will power better gaming, creation, and entertainment and change the expectation for what you can do on a thin and light laptop.

Q: In today's environment, more people working from home than ever before. How does the second edition spec help address that need?

Josh Newman: Even before COVID-19, our research found that more people were using their laptop for cloud apps, like Office 365 and the Google* Suite, and collaboration tools, like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Zoom. Since that time, we've done even more research on how people collaborate virtually, including their everyday experiences with video calling, knowing these needs have now exploded.

The second edition spec ratchets up the KEIs and testing requirements to ensure those experiences are smooth, snappy, and responsive. The spec measures for 25 tasks, compared to 15 in the first edition, and increases the requirements for the original 15.

To meet those needs, the spec requires an array of technologies. These laptops come loaded not just with 11th gen processors with Intel® Iris® Xe graphics, but also Intel® Mobility Boost Technology, Intel® Dynamic Battery Power Technology (Intel® DBPT), Intel® Dynamic Tuning Technology (Intel® DTT) with machine learning. And each Intel® Evo™ platform design has built-in technology that enables Intel® Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) connectivity to deliver fast network performance, Thunderbolt™ 4 technology for high performance and simple one-wire docking to declutter the home office and meet high-quality webcam and audio requirements to enhance audio and video collaboration experiences.

Q: How does the second edition spec guide partners to leverage new AI tools?

Josh Newman: It helps PC manufacturers leverage the latest AI capabilities for experiences like video calls, creation, and productivity. For example, GNA 2.0-enabled noise cancellation can automatically help filter out background noise and de-blur technology will automatically blur out your videoconference background for a professional, more secure video-calling experience.6 I know what you're thinking – these technologies have been available on our devices for years. True, and for the first time these features are being supported by a dedicated set of hardware. We're working to greatly reduce the performance overhead on your system, and the impact on the battery, making the experience accessible to wider audience and useful in a wider range of scenarios.

The spec also guides our partners to deliver laptops with AI accelerators for common creation tasks like the Adobe* Creative Suite. This is ideal for the growing number of people who want immersive graphics and fast creation without sacrificing battery life or responsiveness.

There's also Intel® Deep Learning Boost (Intel® DL Boost) to speed up complex AI workloads like speech recognition, image classification, and language translation. Plus, Adaptive Dimming and Smart Lock can detect a person's gaze to preserve battery and help protect privacy.

Q: What does the future hold for Project Athena?

Josh Newman: Intel is committed to continuing to lead the ecosystem with a new approach to innovation—one that is people-led, not tech-led. And the second edition specification is a step in that direction. So much so, that we are excited to badge the laptops that meet the second edition specification requirements with the all-new Intel® Evo™ platform brand.

We'll continue to work to ensure the latest spec brings together the newest laptop technologies. We'll co-engineer with our OEM partners to make the best possible devices. We'll work with suppliers to innovate on the essential components that move us all forward.

That's the innovation momentum we need to advance the entire ecosystem. Because we're committed to delivering incredible laptop experiences for people in the real world.

The Project Athena Innovation Program


Notices and Disclaimers7

Product and Performance Information

1

Measured responsiveness of premium Windows OS-based designs while performing 25 workflows predictive of performance under a typical-use environment comprising multiple cloud-based and local apps and web pages including Google* Chrome, Google* G-Suite, Microsoft* Office 365, YouTube and Zoom. Testing conducted on laptops on DC battery ≥30%, connected to 802.11 wireless, and with shipped hardware configurations including Windows* 10 and 250-nit LCD screen brightness. Testing results as of August 2020, and do not guarantee individual laptop performance. Power and performance vary by use, configuration and other factors.

2

Time taken to drain from 100% to critical battery level while performing workflows under a typical-use environment comprising multiple cloud-based and local apps and web pages including Google Chrome*, Google G-Suite*, Microsoft Office 365*, YouTube* and Zoom*, including limited periods of non-use. Testing conducted on laptops connected to 802.11 wireless, and with shipped hardware configurations including Windows* 10 and 250-nit LCD screen brightness. Testing results as of August 2020, and do not guarantee individual laptop performance. Power and performance vary by use, configuration and other factors.

3

Charge attained in 30-minute window while powered off from OEM-default shutdown level. Testing results as of August 2020, and do not guarantee individual laptop performance. Power and performance vary by use, configuration and other factors.

4

Verified, measured and tested against a premium specification and Key Experience Indicators as part of Intel's laptop innovation program Project Athena. Testing results as of August 2020, and do not guarantee individual laptop performance. Power and performance vary by use, configuration and other factors. For more complete information about performance and benchmark results, visit Intel.co.uk/Evo.

5

Refers to Intel® Evo™ platform-based laptops powered by 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processors, the best processors for thin & light devices, as measured by systems with 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-1185G7 on industry benchmarks, Representative Usage Guide testing, and unique features, including as compared with AMD Ryzen™ 7 4800U. For more complete information about 11th Gen performance, visit www.intel.co.uk/11thgen. Intel's comprehensive laptop innovation program Project Athena ensures all designs with the Intel Evo brand have been tested, measured and verified against a premium specification and key experience indicators. Testing results as of August 2020, and do not guarantee individual laptop performance. Power and performance vary by use, configuration and other factors.

6

No product or component can be absolutely secure.

7

Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel® microprocessors.

Performance tests, such as SYSmark* and MobileMark*, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products. For more complete information visit www.intel.co.uk/benchmarks.

Performance results are based on testing as of dates shown in configurations and may not reflect all publicly available updates. See www.intel.co.uk/Evo for configuration details.

No product or component can be absolutely secure.

Your costs and results may vary.

Intel® technologies may require enabled hardware, software or service activation.