Interview with Thane Creitz – An insight into Intel’s strategy and roadmap

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We were able to talk to Thane Creitz of Intel who is the Director of Consumer Tehnical Marketing during the Intel Tech Tour of 2016 in India. We got a lot of insight about the Intel’s strategy, outlook and roadmap for the future. Here’s what he had to say.

Thane : I’m Thane Creitz, the Director of Consumer Technical Marketing and what that means is that I have a responsibility to travel around talking to consumer channels, whether it is online or retail to explain the value of Intel products and how some of the tools that Intel offers can help them engage their customers.

Dhruv : There’s been a lot of talk around how the 6th Generation Core is going to be very critical for a regular consumer; be it from a 4K video perspective or consumption for HEVC Video Content. Could you elaborate more on that?

T : Of course. If you look at our strategy for segmenting performance, we’ve got product lines; whether it’s the x3, x5 and x7 for Atom or the Core m3, m5 and m7 and then with Core I, we have Pentium Core i3, i5 , the U/15 Watt and H which is quad-core. So by creating all these different performance profiles at the same time, we’re providing OEMs and consumers the choice to pick what they want.

Whether it is a high end quad-core computing laptop for creating content or for gaming all the way down to a very portable mobility device. And right smack in the middle is a product that is mission perfect for India which is the Pentium Dual Core 15W that comes with 6th Gen DNA. It has great performance that includes hardware acceleration the way that Core does and as you saw in the demonstrations today, it outperformed a 5 year old i5 at playing 4K video, editing 1080p videos etc.

So all the videos coming from our cellphones, this Pentium Dual Core in a 2in1 for under US$ 500 can give you that great experience and still adapt to your environment. Whether your elbows are relaxed at a desktop or squished in because you’re in the middle seat, Pentium based 2in1s with 6th Generation Core technology has the performance to tackle all those great things and adapt to you and your environment.

D : Amongst all the SKUs that you have across the Atom range , the Pentium range and the Core I range as well; do you think this education is being lost on the consumer? Or is that the OEMs job since its not really translating all that well.

T : I think there is an opportunity to improve the end user’s awareness of the difference between a Pentium Quad-Core product and a Pentium Dual-Core product. If there was a way to help them understand that 2 jet engines is faster than 4 propeller engines, it might help get it into their minds that its not just the number of cores but it is what the product was designed to do. If it’s a tablet then its probably for consuming content. If you got a platform in a laptop of 2in1 chassis, you can also create that content.

I think that there’s an opportunity and we certainly try on our tours to educate the people about the difference between you know quad core Atom and dual core with Core based platforms. But at the end user level, I think there’s still some confusion.

D : Intel has been doing some very interesting stuff from a technology perspective. The very fact that we have a product such as an Intel Compute Stick that provides a full blown Windows experience in the size of a flash drive is very interesting. When the compute stick was launched in India, there was a lot of talk about it providing a low cost computing environment for somebody who can’t afford a fancy computer but can instead just plug it into your television and get a computer. But after the initial buzz, there is really no talk of it at all. With the next generation of Compute Sticks coming in which are comparatively priced higher, what exactly is the market proposition for the compute stick.

T : Well the compute stick should probably be called the streaming stick. I mean if you kind of think about it, it is like a television accessory with the 2 gig of RAM and 32 gigs of storage. It’s really like the tablet for your PC or Television.

Just because anybody is on a budget doesn’t mean that they want any less from their computer than somebody who has probably twice that budget. So the important thing to remember is that if it’s a device that is connected to your television like the compute stick is, its really kind of an accessory. A small form factor PC can do the same thing through an HDMI cable but the performance to do all that editing that you may want to do or simply arrange your photographs or browse. Because if you give it a little more storage or if you give it a little more memory, the computer all of a sudden becomes much more usable without having the cost of the display.

So a small form factor PC can be that affordable device for a family that has a television and I would recommend if you can only buy one thing, consider the form factor PC is that family for everybody.

D : From a technology perspective, once again, we are talking about RealSense now that you’ve got the 3-D acquisition as well. How do you see that fitting into your India story?

T : So RealSense as a technology embedded in the computer is one aspect and it requires the combination of the right platforms along with the right software. Probably the most mainstream application would be with conferencing because its got the largest number of users and people Skype, people really want to talk to each other and there’s this phenomenon where people are broadcasting their activities. So whether they’re a painter or a professor or calligrapher, they’re sharing what they’re doing and by using a RealSense enabled computer, they can augment that presentation to include photographs or videos or some sort of background, all through Virtual Green Screen technology with Real Sense.

If it’s gaming, you’ve got the ability to put yourself in the game. Probably what’s going to happen in India is that some of the small businesses might use RealSense technology to augment the experience for their shoppers where you go in, they scan you and they offer you a service based on that scan. So even though the consumer doesn’t own the technology, they benefit from it.

So I see both of these things happening here and it just requires a little more maturity in the marketplace before it makes sense for the average Indian consumer.

There needs to be more devices and certainly more software. But for the businesses, I think that the video conferencing aspect is mainstream enough for right now.

D : Are there any business partnerships that you might already possibly have in India?

T : Certainly we support the local channels whether it is Croma, Flipkart or Amazon. Those are our typical partners. I’m not aware of something where we are working with somebody to create a Business to Consumer cut model but it certainly wouldn’t be difficult to create that sort of a discussion. In the US where a clothing line coming up with 12 measurement jeans and they scan the people to find the jeans that fits. So not just waist and length but 12 different measurements and your profile can be used to help you find clothes that fit.

So that kind of a thing could be anywhere in the world. People want to buy clothes and they just go somewhere where there is scanning available. It is just one example.

D : The commoditisation of Home PCs is something that is happening with every successive generation of processors from Intel and the industry in general. But in India, we’ve also seen that, more often than not, for a lot of people, their computer is turning out to be their cellphone and Intel’s strategy on the mobile segment hasn’t really taken off. We’ve seen Asus possibly being one of the only major partners that you have. What’s the vision going forward for that?

T : Well, we’re continuing to make investments in our modem technology and we’re continuing to make sure that future versions of our Atom x3 are targeted at cellphones. I believe that the next communications protocol, 5G is going to be a big turning point by removing some of the royalties that are present for 4G LTE, see prices come down and to be honest, our execution hasn’t been as good as it could’ve been.

But what’s interesting about our abilities is that we tackle a process like no one else can and our power efficiency is becoming well understood as industry leading. When you combine that, over time I think you will start to see us become a strong player in the mobile market. Past performance is not an indication of future performance.

D : It is a bit surprising that you haven’t been aggressive enough to collaborate with some of the larger OEMs like perhaps Samsung. There are no Samsung devices that are running on Intel processors, which would also aid in education which Intel is also in the market for.

T : We’re also tackling the problem in different ways. We’re looking at mainstream operating systems and finding ways to; What if there were telephony extensions added to Windows 10?, What if there was a way to have your Windows device not Windows Mobile but Windows 10 have telephony and then imagine a device that’s 2 Watts in your pocket but then 12 Watts on your desk. And have telephony. So now, your 6 inch device is a computer when docked and a cellphone in your pocket.

D : Probably an extension of Continuum?

T : Yes!

D : But running with full blown Windows on it.

T : Yes, by working where there are barriers, we’re trying to help some of our partners understand that there is an opportunity here. Let’s see if we can tackle it.

D : Could you give me an outlook towards India? What are your expectations and what’s the Intel ideology behind targeting India for the next year perhaps?

T : India is the leading country in our Asia Pacific region and it is going to be one of the largest online markets in the world. I’ve been to India 4 times in the last 5 years and I’m very committed personally to coming. I’m going to start visiting India at least twice a year and we’re going to add a city. So it’ll be Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi.

We’ve got a strong opportunity to talk to retailers and the online markets. I’m committed to helping India and our relationships here. Help OEMs find the right products because it seems like people view India with the past when you need look at India with what’s possible.

The reason a 11 inch device based on Intel Celeron doesn’t sell is because it was never designed for a customer who wanted the performance but was on a low budget. So how do we replace the old products with the new products like the dual core Pentium based on 6th gen and increase the availability. So I’ve talked about it but you can’t go into a store today and find one. So I want to be able to come back and visit stores and point out where they are and where they’re not and try to improve their availability.

D : There’s been a lot of focus on Make in India and Skill in India. Intel has been pretty strong on R&D in India. Any thoughts on possibly bringing the manufacturing process to India itself?

T : Those sort of discussions are done at a very high level and I can’t tell you what happens and what elements. I would say that its always being discussed. We’ve got a strong commitment to the number of employees in India and I would say that as these discussions continue, there’s always an opportunity.

D : Thank you!

T : You’re very welcome!

Author: Team FoneArena

A team of mobile geeks