In 2021 Joshua Glazer, an Israeli serial entrepreneur, was leaving Intel’s Haifa, Israel campus when he got the call that would change the future of PC experiences. He had just finished presenting his team’s demo of a new technology that could synchronize three major OS’s—Windows, Android, and iOS—for the first time on the PC. If it had the support of Intel and OEM partners, it could potentially solve one of the PC ecosystem’s most difficult challenges.
Still, Glazer wasn’t sure what to expect when Jim Johnson, senior vice president, and general manager of Intel's Client Business Group, called asking him to return to the office. The reason turned out to be simple: he wanted to try the technology for himself.
“He actually connected his phone to his PC right there, then sent a text and made a phone call,” says Glazer.
The technology that Joshua had presented to Intel is now known as Intel® Unison™, and something that you can now use, too. Intel® Unison™ is available on select Intel® Evo™ verified laptops, like the Acer Aspire Vero 14 and 15.
“A Mix of Adventurous and Analytical”: Meet the Team Is Solving the PC Ecosystem’s Multi-Device Challenge
Nearly 10 years ago, the team behind Intel® Unison™ set out to solve an everyday frustration. Laptops, phones, and devices often don’t work well together – especially across operating systems. This leads to missed notifications, disruptive texts, tedious file-sharing, and a constant juggling act. But it’s an extremely complex challenge to solve, requiring both engineering know-how and buy-in across the ecosystem.
Few know this better than David Birnbaum, principal engineer for Intel Client Computing Group’s wireless connectivity team and a frequent collaborator with Glazer over the last seven years. “End-users were asking us, ‘Why can’t I send texts from my PC, or use my tablet as a second screen?’” says Birnbaum. “Our research found this was the second most common reason people switched from PCs. And it’s a top ask from OEMs. We wanted to overcome that with a world-class solution supported by the entire PC ecosystem.”
By combining technical chops and an inventive spirit, the Intel® Unison™ team has delivered just that. This team of engineers and cyber experts began as Screenovate, a startup founded by Glazer and acquired by Intel in 2021. They have developed leading-edge solutions that leverage common standards like Bluetooth®, Bluetooth Low Energy, and Wi-Fi in sophisticated ways—all driven by a unique culture. A typical day could include a deep dive into new OS capability, holding a contest to find the next “killer” feature, or discussing how our devices might reshape how people experience their PCs.
You need adventurous, creative people who can trail-blaze to the other side of the mountain, but you also need the analytical people who can come in and build the four-lane highway—a real, secure, stable product. When those two come together, you can achieve anything.
Answering the Call: Intel® Unison™ on the Acer Aspire Vero 14 and 15
According to Intel-led research, one of the top five experiences people want in a device is smarter interaction between their PC and phone1; Intel® Unison™ offers just that. And OEM partners like Acer, HP, and Lenovo who recognized the value immediately.
“Acer has been looking for a reliable and comprehensive solution to help bridge user experiences across multiple devices,” said James Lin, general manager, Notebooks, IT Products Business, Acer Inc. “Intel® Unison™ answers that need. It enables us to offer an enhanced PC experience that is designed for our customers’ daily needs whether they want to connect their PC with an iPhone or an Android phone.”
While laptop engineering is typically dictated by the strict deadlines of hardware design, the Acer and Intel teams leveraged Intel Unison’s flexibility as a powerful software solution to meet an aggressive timeline for the Acer Aspire Vero 14 and 15. The teams updated and optimized an early version of Intel® Unison™, working in parallel with other steps of the development process. Intel® Unison™ was then activated as a software update pushed from the cloud after the hardware was locked.
A Platform for Innovation: How Intel® Unison™ Opens New Possibilities for Laptop Experiences
Intel® Unison™ is rolling out to select 12th Gen Intel® Core™ processor-based Intel® Evo™ designs this holiday season (2022). The distribution will expand to additional Intel® Evo™ designs early next year with the market availability of 13th Gen Intel® Core™ devices. And, its capabilities are expected to evolve over time, driven by end-user needs, and OEM partnerships.
“This is the great thing about Intel—it’s one of the few companies where you can touch the life of every person on the planet,” says Birnbaum. “Pat [Gelsinger] has given us the mandate to solve real-world problems with user-facing solutions. We’re going to keep driving, keep innovating, and keep delivering for people’s needs.”
They won’t be alone. Intel® Unison™ also provides a foundation for developers and customers of the PC ecosystem to build their own differentiated capabilities. While this innovation is in its very early stages, it will become increasingly important as people see the technology in action.
People can now experience a simpler digital life by seeing notifications, sending and receiving text messages, making calls, and sharing files right from their PC. The result: greater focus, easier creation, and seamless communication, regardless of what screen they use.
With a shared solution in place, the PC ecosystem is now equipped to do what an open ecosystem does best: create, iterate, push the boundaries, and redefine what’s possible.