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Intel unveils Project Athena Open Labs certification program to boost QA standards for Intel-powered laptops

Intel unveils Project Athena Open Labs certification program (Source: Intel)
Intel unveils Project Athena Open Labs certification program (Source: Intel)
IHVs for laptop PCs can submit their products to Intel for compliance assessment, quality assurance, and performance tests. If they pass, then major OEMs like Acer, Huawei, Asus, or Dell will be more likely to source these optimized components for their future laptops.

Announced at CES 2019, Intel's Project Athena was designed to be a set of guidelines and standards for OEMs to follow in order to create a "next-gen PC experience" fit for next-generation technologies like 5G connectivity and AI. OEMs would receive feedback from Intel engineers on how to optimize power, minimize wake-from-sleep times, and tune certain components on the motherboard with the goal of delivering a more seamless experience for the end user.

The first Project Athena-approved devices will be available before the end of this year to strongly imply that some could be announced at Computex 2019.

To expand on the Athena project, Intel will introduce Athena Open Labs to allow a broader range of clients and submissions from not just laptop PC manufacturers, but also laptop component manufacturers and vendors who may specialize in mobile audio, embedded controllers, haptics, wireless, SSDs, or more. Should the components meet Intel's stringent Athena standards, then Intel would be able to recommend said components to major OEMs for use on their future laptop designs.

To put simply, Project Athena will supposedly give end users peace of mind when it comes to wireless reliability and general longevity of the overall laptop. The Intel program will not, however, assess BIOS or OEM-specific software.

Project Athena Open Labs will open in just a few weeks for independent hardware vendors.

(May 7, 2019: update: Intel has confirmed that Project Athena also addresses BIOS and software optimizations.)

Intel Unveils Project Athena Open Labs, Expands Ecosystem Integration to Optimize Laptop Components


What’s New: Intel today revealed plans for Project Athena Open Labs in Taipei, Shanghai and Folsom, California, to support performance and low-power optimization of vendor components for laptops built to Project Athena design specifications and target experiences in 2020. Located in key ecosystem hubs and operated by teams of Intel engineers with system-on-chip (SOC) and platform power optimization expertise, the three Open Labs sites will begin operating in June 2019 to enable and optimize components.


“Across the industry, we each play an important role in delivering the advanced laptops of today and the future. Project Athena Open Labs are a critical step in enabling more extensive, day-to-day collaboration with the components ecosystem to continuously raise the bar for innovation across the platform.”

--Josh Newman, Intel vice president and general manager of PC Innovation Segments, Client Computing Group


What It Means: Intel’s expanded level of integration with the PC ecosystem will accelerate the development of advanced laptop designs and capabilities by adding greater efficiency to the component selection process for OEMs and by enabling a continuous cycle of tuning and testing based on real workloads and usage models.


Why It’s Important: This week, more than 500 members of the PC ecosystem gathered in Taiwan for the Project Athena Ecosystem Symposium to ready the first wave of Project Athena designs.Announced at CES 2019, Project Athena is Intel’s innovation program to help bring to market a new class of advanced laptops. Co-engineered with partners across the ecosystem, the first Project Athena devices will be available in the second half of this year.


With Project Athena, Intel has fundamentally changed its approach to innovation. Rooted in extensive research to understand how people use their devices and the challenges they face, Intel engineers and social scientists have developed a set of predefined key experience requirements designed to enable new experiences and capitalize on next-generation technologies, such as 5G and artificial intelligence, across the full PC platform.


Every component within a laptop affects the user experience, from power consumption to responsiveness and beyond. Enabling component vendor assessment, tuning and compliance at the Open Labs will help drive consistency in delivering the best technologies without compromise. Early alignment and enablement at the component level sets a strong foundation for OEM design readiness and implementation to help ensure systems meet Project Athena experience targets.


How It Works: Project Athena Open Labs will be the first step in readying the next wave of Project Athena designs for 2020 and beyond. Independent hardware vendors (IHVs) will have the opportunity to submit parts for compliance assessment via Project Athena Open Labs, and Intel’s OEM partners can also nominate preferred component vendors for participation.


Each Open Lab is supported by experienced engineers to test, tune, and provide recommendations to improve power and performance capabilities across a broad range of laptop components and categories, such as audio, display, embedded controllers, haptics, SSDs and wireless. The state-of-the-art facilities are located in regional hubs, so ODMs and IHVs can come into the labs year-round for component assessment and solution pathfinding aligned to the Project Athena vision. Following assessment, a list of optimized components will be made available to OEMs for consideration throughout product development cycles.


OEMs, ODMs and IHVs will begin to submit components to the Open Labs over the coming weeks.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 05 > Intel unveils Project Athena Open Labs certification program to boost QA standards for Intel-powered laptops
Allen Ngo, 2019-05- 8 (Update: 2019-05-30)