Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, Nvidia Fuel Mobile Chip News at CES
In its Core chips, Intel is driving down the power consumption of its current 3rd generation Core chips to as low as 7 watts in some models, enabling even thinner and lighter system Ultrabook designs. Lenovo, with its IdeaPad Yoga 11S, and Acer, with a detachable system, will be among the first OEMs to release Ultrabooks based on these chips this spring. At the same time, Skaugen talked about the upcoming 4th generation Core chips—dubbed "Haswell"—which will offer up to nine hours of continuous battery life. Intel officials showed off a reference design for a detachable Ultrabook—called "North Cape"—which can convert to a tablet, bumping up the battery life as to as long as 13 hours. They also stressed that Haswell-based Ultrabooks will need to be touch-capable. During the press conference, Skaugen also said that Haswell will help drive down the cost of some Ultrabooks to as low as $599. Pricing has been a key issue around Ultrabooks, which Intel officials first broached in 2011. Ultrabooks now start at about $899, which analysts have said is too high to compete with tablets and other systems. Bringing that price down is a key part in pushing adoption of the form factor. Intel officials also demonstrated the Perceptual Computing software development kit (SDK) Beta, which includes voice-control and facial-recognition capabilities.For their part, AMD officials at CES Jan. 7 gave journalists a look at upcoming accelerated processing units (APUs) aimed at tablets and ultrathin notebooks. Included were demonstrations of the vendor's first true SoC chips, "Temash" and "Kabini," both of which will be the industry's first quad-core x86 SoCs when they ship in the first half of the year, according to AMD officials.They also unveiled Richland, which is shipping now to OEMs and offers a 20 to 40 percent increase in visual performance over current AMD A-Series chips. Officials said Richland will include gesture- and facial-recognition software. The follow-on to Richland—"Kaveri"—will begin shipping to systems makers in the second half of the year. "With a groundbreaking, new APU line-up in 2013, AMD is poised to win in high-growth consumer segments," Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of AMD's Global Business Units, said in a statement. AMD also announced an OEM relationship with mobile device maker Vizio. AMD executives are looking at ultraportable devices—such as ultrathin notebooks and tablets—as one of several growth areas as the company tries to improve its financial footing. AMD has been impacted by the slowdown in sales of PCs worldwide, and is trying to reduce its reliance on the systems. After a difficult third quarter, the company announced it was cutting 1,770 jobs and focusing on the growth areas, which also included embedded systems and dense servers.