Nowadays many believe that we live in the post-PC era as the amount of various mobile devices is increasing, whereas sharing of content or data between them is getting harder. In reality, that sharing is a key for the always on/always connected era and enabling it is crucially important. Intel Corp. has kicked off common connectivity framework (CCF) initiative for Windows-based PCs, which will help to pair Apple iOS, Google Android and Microsoft Windows.
At present, it is pretty hard do enable interconnection between a mix of devices that may include Apple media tablet, Google Android-based smartphone, Microsoft Windows notebook, and a set-top-box or three connected to TV. While some things can be done, they require messy combination of wires, drivers, memory cards, and proprietary or third-party cloud services. In a bid to finally connect PCs with mobile gadgets, Intel has developed common connectivity framework (CCF), a middleware for Windows PCs to enable cross-device connections.
The CCF is a type of middleware, which runs on top of the operating system and provides a simple and secure channel between devices for use by other applications. The basic idea of the CCF is to make sharing between devices touch-and-tap easy and unlock new usage scenarios across devices, such as:
- Using smartphone as a controller for a game running on PC;
- Scrolling through web pages on PC using phone or tablet’s screen as a big touchpad;
- Using phone’s high-fidelity camera as a webcam for a PC.
Combining the PC’s big screen, computing horsepower, and large storage capacity with a mobile device’s sensors, touchscreen, and camera opens up all kinds of possibilities.
It will be up to software vendors to bring many of those scenarios to life, but to show off what’s possible, Intel built two apps that one can download and try out today: Intel Pair & Share, and the Intel TelePort Extender.
- Pair & Share is a simple Windows program and an iOS or Android app that lets to wirelessly connect one or more phones or tablets to a PC and share pictures on the PC’s screen.
- TelePort Extender combines a Windows and Android app to bring phone’s calling, texting, and contacts to a PC (Apple doesn’t expose these features to app developers, hence there’s no iOS equivalent today).
Intel's goal with its apps and middleware is to is to inspire independent software vendors (ISVs) to build their own apps using the CCF middleware. At present, Intel's PC client group (PCCG) is working with OEMs to get the CCF pre-installed on ultrabooks and a variety of PCs (OEMs may include Pair & Share, TelePort Extender, or even build their own apps), giving those ISVs a broad reach for their apps.
Acer is already shipping all-in-one PCs with Pair & Share installed, and more OEMs will follow suit through 2012. PCCG and mobile and communications group (MCG) are working on the next rev of the framework, which will bring new features, services, and support for Windows 8 as well as other mobile application environments.
Altogether, the efforts support Intel’s 2012 imperative to “establish the compute continuum framework and enable security, location, and media services across IA devices,” which CEO Paul Otellini shared at a recent open forum.