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Computers

Intel says it's time for work without wires

The leading maker of PC chips says its new Core vPro processor is now available and offers speedier performance, longer battery life and the need for fewer cords.

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An example of an employee using Intel's wireless-display technology. Intel

Intel is getting one step closer to its goal of eliminating cables from personal computers, saying Thursday that its newest chip for work computers -- which packs in several wire-free features -- is now available.

The fifth-generation Core vPro processor provides improved performance, longer battery life and better graphics than its fourth-generation predecessor, Intel said. On top of that, the chip provides two new functions to power a more wire-free workplace. It includes Intel's wireless display technology, which is designed to let employees share presentations on conference room displays without the need for cords, and wireless docking, which enables users to connect their laptops to a large display, keyboard and mouse. These two features were still mostly in testing in the previous generation.

"We aim to transform the user experience by helping them compute from virtually anywhere without the clutter and burden of wires," Tom Garrison, general manager of Intel's business client platforms, said in a statement.

Intel, the top maker of desktop and laptop chips, has said it plans to create a wire-free PC by next year. A wireless and tangle-free computer has long been a goal in the tech world, but the idea has been slowed by the need to connect to peripheral devices, like a keyboard and display, as well as a power source. In recent years, advances in wireless charging and superfast, short-range wireless connections using WiGig technology have brought the idea closer to reality.

The new chips are also way for Intel to try to stay in step with a growing trend of people using their computers on-the-go and working from home. To help ensure corporate information is still protected, regardless of where a company computer may be, Intel created the Core vPro line specifically for work PCs. These chips include stronger security measures than Intel's consumer chips, and they allow IT departments to access corporate computers remotely, even when they're turned off, so technicians can repair or upgrade devices from any location.

Intel's vision of a wires-free workspace. Intel

Intel is also hoping these new wires-free features can help it keep up demand for new PCs, even as more consumers are using smartphones and tablets for their daily computing needs. After the PC market had been in decline for more than two years, it showed signs of stability in 2014, which has helped boost Intel's profits and stock price.

Along with the Core vPro for business, Intel in recent months also started shipping its fifth-generation Core i-series chips for consumer desktops and high-end laptops, and the Core M chip for laptops and tablets. All three sets of chips use a new 14-nanometer architecture. The Core i-series also includes wireless display features, known as "WiDi," but the vPro provides a stronger set of security measures.