The last thing I need in my house is another computer; we’ve got plenty to go around. That said, Intel’s demo at its press conference in Las Vegas, today, almost made me want one.
First, let me take you back to New Year’s Day, when my whole family was gathered together in the living room, all in one place at one time, and each person with their noses stuck in a laptop, my husband and sons taking the isolation one step further by wearing their new noise-cancelling headphones. (Whatever my daughter and I were doing didn’t require sound.) The scene was odd enough for me to pull out a camera and snap a picture. (At which point they all looked up, in spite of the headphones, and said, “Mooom, why are you taking a picture?”)
Intel’s vision of home computing includes all those laptops (preferably with Intel Inside) but adds one more computer—an “Adaptive Multi-Touch-All-In-One”computer. Intel demo’d one built by Lenovo that can lie flat on a table, and showed a family playing Monopoly and then a group of Intel employees demonstrated a poker game. Software available for this family-sized tabletop computer will also include dominos, mahjong, and a number of games from Sesame Street. Intel says the gizmo will bring back family game night. I was thinking it would make the coffee table look like one of those table-video-games I used to play PacMan on in a local bar, and to really catch on it’s going to need spilled-drink-proofing. Still, it was nice to contemplate my family gathered around a single screen instead of retreating to the corners of the room with their laptops, though I’m not entirely sure why a Monopoly board or a deck of cards wouldn’t work just as well.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.