Meanwhile, we have been arguing that passwords are not secure enough since the 1970s, yet there's no widely deployed alternative. Fingerprint readers come closest, but they've proven to be unreliable and difficult to use, and, while they can log you in, they don't track when you leave.
This week, Intel showcased a palm scanner that can read your hand from a distance and reportedly connect more quickly and more securely than most fingerprint readers. Coupled with a second sensor such as an accelerometer in a tablet, you get quick and easy security and a product that locks up whenever the user walks away.
Authentication occurs at the device level; then the device validates that the user is who he represents himself to be. No passwords are used in the process. This makes authentication faster, easier, more reliable, far more secure-and wireless.
Intel: Imagining the Future of Wireless Power
Intel is also in the midst of an aggressive effort to broadcast power to a device. While this wireless charging effort isn't as far along-it's due in 2014-combined with Intel's other work it promises a future where you don't have to carry cables, remember passwords, worry about someone stealing your digital stuff or think about battery life. In such a world, your devices know who you are; access is automatic, instant, and secure, and the only thing you worry about is getting the job done. Simply put, the technology just works.
News: Consortium Working on Wireless Laptop Charging Specification
This will force us to rethink the fundamental designs of these devices. If you don't have to physically connect a device to anything, then it could be anything built into a case, an article of clothing or any other object you might carry but never actually put on a desk. This path suggests that the PCs of the future may not be seen or heard but will still be wherever you are. In fact, they may look more like the bunny ears that Rattner wore on stage than any of us are willing to admit now.
Rob Enderle is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. Previously, he was the Senior Research Fellow for Forrester Research and the Giga Information Group. Prior to that he worked for IBM and held positions in Internal Audit, Competitive Analysis, Marketing, Finance and Security. Currently, Enderle writes on emerging technology, security and Linux for a variety of publications and appears on national news TV shows that include CNBC, FOX, Bloomberg and NPR.