ad info technology > computing
    Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback  




Consumer group: Online privacy protections fall short

Guide to a wired Super Bowl

Debate opens on making e-commerce law consistent



More than 11,000 killed in India quake

Mideast negotiators want to continue talks after Israeli elections


4:30pm ET, 4/16










CNN Websites
Networks image

Intel: Make PCs simpler


February 21, 2000
Web posted at: 8:50 a.m. EST (1350 GMT)

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (IDG) -- Despite industry steps in the right direction, today's PC is still too difficult to set up and use.

Intel's answer is the Easy PC Initiative, developed with Microsoft to promote PCs that are easier to set up, use, expand, and maintain. But it's still too tough, Steve Whalley, Intel's ease of use initiative manager, told a sometimes-hostile crowd of developers at the Intel Developer Forum here.


Whalley chided PC manufacturers for delivering systems that require operating system configuration and repeated reboots right out of the box. He decried the practice of cluttering the desktop with too many confusing program icons. He even questioned why vendors seem to use so much plastic wrap and twist ties when they package a new PC.

And then he detailed some goals for vendors to improve PCs over the next two years.

Get (more) graphical

  Intel wants to put you on Easy PC street
  Intel and Microsoft outline Easy PC Initiative
  Move over iMac: AMD debuts EasyNow
  Revamping the home PC
  Reviews & in-depth info at
  E-Business World
  Year 2000 World
  Questions about computers? Let's editors help you
  Subscribe to's free daily newsletter for computer geniuses (& newbies)
  Search in 12 languages
  News Radio
  * Fusion audio primers
  * Computerworld Minute

The fewer steps a consumer must take -- from opening the box to running a PC--the better, Whalley says. Vendors need to make PCs easy to get out of the box, they must provide easy and clear setup instructions (with matching pictures), they should color-code cables, and they must eliminate the need to reboot during the initial setup because it scares new users, he says. And hardware should be reliable; it should "just work," according the slogan of the Easy PC Initiative.

Vendors should preload software, eliminate any confusing DOS-based applications, and make often-used features easier to access, Whalley says.

"Pay attention to what users are doing with their PCs, and if they're checking their e-mail, put a button [for that] on the keyboard," he says.

It will be easier to add peripherals when PCs are free of internal slots and conventional serial and parallel external ports, Whalley adds. He says a good PC has plenty of USB ports in front and in back.

For easier maintenance, updates to the BIOS, drivers, and virus protection should be automatic, he says. Hard drive clean-up tools should be built in, and Web-based support should be standard.

Easier said than done

Numerous audience members took Whalley to task on some of his suggestions. Some shook their heads at his comments; others spoke up, arguing that some of the goals are too difficult or expensive. Others noted that software needs to improve, too.

Difficult or not, these changes are necessary for PCs to be more widely adopted, an unfazed Whalley pointed out.

Recent products from Compaq and Dell are headed in the right direction, he says. During the conference, Intel gave the Compaq Presario EZ2000 and the Dell WebPC its Innovate PC Recognition Award for being easy to set up and use, as well as attractive.

Ease of use is important, but increasingly, so are aesthetics, Whalley says. "Style counts," he adds.

Ericsson cell phones to have Intel inside
February 7, 2000
Intel acquisitions fortify future network role
February 7, 2000
Intel to showcase 1GHz 'Coppermine' Pentium III
February 1, 2000
Intel to push 800 MHz
December 16, 1999
Compaq may shun Wintel with Net PCs
November 17, 1999

Intel wants to put you on Easy PC street
(PC World Online)
Intel and Microsoft outline Easy PC Initiative
(PC World Online)
Intel says ''less is more''
(PC World Online)
Move over iMac: AMD debuts EasyNow
(PC World Online)
Revamping the home PC
(PC World Online)
New bill would bring thousands of computers to youths
The great rebate debate
(PC World Online)
Cheap PCs come under fire
(PC World Online)

Intel Corp.

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.


Back to the top  © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.