AMD brings gesture control and face login to your laptop

AMD Richland APUs

After demoing what its 2013 lineup of laptop processors can do since January at CES, AMD is taking the wraps off the new chips for laptops codenamed “Richland,” which offer better power management and graphics, plus some new ways of interacting with your computer. (These APUs are for standard sized laptops and not Ultrabooks. New ultra low voltage APUs for those machines will be announced later this year.)

The Richland chips share the same architecture as the its predecessors the Trinity processors, where the central processor (CPU) is fused on the same board as the graphics processor (GPU) to form the Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) that are unique to AMD processors. They also share the same naming convention: on the lower-end are the dual-core APUs the A4 and A6, while the A8 and A10 APUs are quad-core and are more suitable for more demanding computer users.

With this update, the new generation of A-Series Elite APUs will have latest AMD Radeon HD 8000 series graphics on-board, For gamers, this means DirectX 11 and dual graphics support, as well as the ability to hook up to six monitors on a single graphics card thanks to AMD Eyefinity. Of course, these APUs have to be energy efficient as well as powerful because they’re designed for laptops with limited battery life, not desktops that can be plugged in all day and night. Based on AMD’s tests using a A10-powered laptop, the machine was able to surf the web through Wi-Fi for almost 8 hours, play a HD movie (or two) for up to 5.7 hours, on a 55 watt battery.

You’ll be able to tell the AMD Richland-powered laptops apart from the previous-generation of Trinity devices by the new AMD A-Series “Elite” stickers on these new machines (versus the more ambiguous AMD “Vision” stickers). As AMD mentioned at CES and reiterated at a recent briefing call, new laptops with Richland chips are already on-the-way, where the first wave should hit stores by the end of this month.

These new AMD-powered laptops will be preloaded with some neat software that could make them more fun to use, particularly AMD Face Login and AMD Gesture Control.

AMD Richland APU face-log

Like Google Nexus 4’s Face Unlock feature on a smartphone, you’ll be able to log into your AMD-powered computer and certain websites just by being in front of your laptop’s webcam – without having to type in any password. AMD Face Login is developed by Cyberlink and is included with laptops with Richland APUs.

AMD Richland APU gesture-control

With Microsoft revealing its desire to integrate the Xbox Kinect’s stereoscopic 3D cameras into future laptops and peripherals like the Leap Motion, it seems there is a real push to bring gesture controls to computers. After all, there are moments when your hands are full or too far away from your computer to poke at the keyboard. With the Richland line of APUs, you’ll be able to use AMD Gesture Control and the laptop’s embedded 720p webcam to communicate with your laptop using some basic 2D motions.

While we doubt consumers would choose a particular brand of laptop processor because of some potentially useful software, it is interesting to see AMD try to differentiate itself with some innovation, rather than compete with Intel on just numbers and benchmarks. If nothing else, at least the laptops with the previous-gen Trinity APUs will be seeing some price drops soon as retailers will need to make room for this new crop of elite AMD-powered laptops.

Computing

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 
Mobile

How to choose an iPad in 2019: A practical guide to Apple’s tablets

Selecting an iPad from Apple's lineup can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Our comprehensive guide should put the numbers and specs in practical, easy-to-understand terms. Find your ideal iPad with the help of our guide.
Gaming

How do the revised Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles stack up?

Microsoft's new Xbox One S and Sony's PlayStation 4 "Slim" have bucked the generational gaming console trend. But which of these stopgap systems is worth spending your paycheck on?
Computing

Like to be brand loyal? These tech titans make some of our favorite laptops

If you want to buy your next laptop based around a specific brand, it helps to know which the best brands of laptops are. This list will give you a good grounding in the most reliable, quality laptop manufacturers today.
Computing

These cheap laptops will make you wonder why anyone spends more

Looking for a budget notebook for school, work, or play? The best budget laptops, including our top pick -- the Asus ZenBook UX331UA -- will get the job done without digging too deeply into your pockets.
Computing

Amazon and Nvidia bring artificial intelligence to the cloud with T4 GPUs

Nvidia announced the availability of new mainstream servers optimized to run the company's latest T4 GPUs with Turning architecture. Amazon jumped on board immediately, announcing that new AWS EC2 G4 instances will offer the technology.
Computing

Netgear’s new Nighthawk Tri-band AX12 router brings Wi-Fi 6 speeds to the masses

Available in May for $600, the Nighthawk Tri-band AX12 router allows for maximum Wi-Fi performance on smart home devices and offers everything needed for gaming, streaming, and other high-bandwidth applications. 
Computing

Calibrate your display to get it looking just the way you like it

Want to see images the way they're intended to be seen? Here is our quick guide on how to calibrate your monitor using your operating system or another tool, to make what's on the screen look as good as it can.
Computing

How to change your Gmail password in just a few quick steps

Regularly updating your passwords is a good way to stay secure online, but each site and service has their own way of doing it. Here's a quick guide on how to change your Gmail password in a few short steps.
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Home Theater

Smart speakers are about to get an IQ bump thanks to new Qualcomm chips

Qualcomm announced a new chipset that is designed to make the next generation of smart speakers sound, listen, and connect better than ever before, and it could soon be in your living room.
Computing

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for a service without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses via one of these handy services.
Computing

Don't take your provider's word for it. Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.
Computing

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

Though there are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or operating system.