Intel’s new Evo brand will highlight updated, premium ‘Project Athena’ notebook PCs

The new Intel Evo sticker you’ll see on laptops this fall is Intel’s answer to the question, “So what this makes this laptop PC so special, anyway?”

Ever since Intel launched its Project Athena premium thin-and-light PC program eighteen months ago, Intel and its partners have struggled to communicate what makes their collaboratively designed notebooks better than the rest. Evo is its new signal. In what Intel is informally calling the “Project Athena Second Edition,” Intel told PCWorld how it is prioritizing its new Intel Evo brand as a badge to identify these premium ultrabooks, while redefining what they stand for: cloud- and browser-based work.  

Intel is launching the new Evo brand Wednesday alongside the formal, final unveiling of its 11th-gen Tiger Lake processors. The second edition of the Project Athena platform calls for a minimum specification of either an 11th-gen Intel Core i5/i7 with Iris Xe graphics, alongside a 12- to 15-inch Full HD (or better) display, a chassis 15mm or thinner, and Intel’s Dynamic Tuning technology.

hp elite dragonfly 1 Gordon Mah Ung

The HP Elite Dragonfly was just one of a number of first-generation Project Athena laptops…but would you know it just from looking at it?

Intel Evo badges will accompany four new thin-and-light laptops at launch, with more to come: the just-announced Lenovo Yoga 9i, the Asus Zenbook Flip S, the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 5G, and the latest version of the Acer Swift 5. (Will there be an actual sticker? We don’t know for certain, but the Engineered for Mobile Performance “visual identifier” used for Athena notebooks was just for in-store displays.)

In all, twenty Evo designs are expected by the end of the year, Intel executives said. Intel Evo stickers will appear on laptops from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung, as before. But as Intel promised, there will be new additions for 2020: Dynabook, LG, and MSI. Does the latter signify that we’ll see an Intel Evo gaming PC? Intel isn’t saying.

What’s inside an Evo PC?

The fundamental premise of what Intel is trying to accomplish with Project Athena, or Evo, hasn’t changed: work with PC makers to co-design laptops that are quick to respond, always connected, and can last all day on a single charge. Over fifty first-generation “Athena” PCs shipped from Intel’s partners. But the “Athena” designation was never really loudly trumpeted, sometimes appearing on a spec sheet and little more. The new Evo brand may help change that.

project athena intel evo platform requirements Intel

Here are the basic specifications of an Evo PC. Naturally, Intel’s new Intel Tiger Lake processor is a fundamental component.

Intel has promised significant gains in clock speed for its 11th-gen Tiger Lake chip, including delivering what it calls the “best ultraportable gaming experience,” including a doubling of gaming performance over the 10th-gen Ice Lake processor. But productivity still seems to be the focus for the Athena platform and Evo badge: Intel promises 20 percent more performance in office applications than competing platforms, meaning AMD’s Ryzen.

“Evo will be the key focus for the rest of this year and into next year,” said Josh Newman, vice president and general manager of PC Innovation Segments in Intel’s Client Computing Group, in an interview. “These will be the best laptops for getting things done.”

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