Intel Talks Ultrabooks, Tablets, Smartphones at Computex
Intel officials are expanding the companys blitz into the mobile device space, saying there are more than 35 new Ultrabooks that will be available within 30 days and 110 more expected over the next year, and that there also are 20 tablet designs in the works based on the companys upcoming Clover Trail Atom chip.
At the same time, Intel is pushing touch capabilities in Ultrabooks by entering into agreements to work with touch vendors Cando, HannsTouch, TPK and Wintek. In addition, company officials also are giving the industry a glimpse into what they expect in future Ultrabooks and other computing devices, including the ability to interact with users through sight, sound and touch.
Thomas Kilroy, senior vice president and general manager of Intels Sales and Marketing Group, said during his keynote June 5 at the 2012 Computex show in Taipei, Taiwan, that the goal is to create an increasingly intuitive computing experience.
"Our life experiences are defined by our sensesby what we see, hear and touch," Kilroy said, according to Intel. "These human senses are also at the foundation of Intel's vision for the Ultrabook to deliver a no-compromise, must-have computing experience.
Intels rollout this year of its third-generation Core Ivy Bridge processors was a key step in that direction, and the giant chip maker plans to continue expanding the ways users interact with their computers, he said.
"The innovation must continue as we move to touch-based Ultrabook convertible designs, and in the future aim to give them and other devices senses, making our interaction with them natural and intuitive," Kilroy said.
Intel, looking to expand its reach beyond its traditional PC and server chip businesses, is targeting the mobile device marketincluding smartphones and tabletsas a key growth area. The space currently is dominated by chips designed by ARM Holdings and manufactured by Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Nvidia, Samsung and others.
However, with the rollout of the Ivy Bridge chipswhich offer better performance and significantly improved energy efficiency and graphics capabilitiesand the rapid development of the Atom system-on-a-chip (SoC) platform, Intel officials are looking to grab share from ARM.
Almost two dozen Ultrabooksrun on Intels 32-nanometer Sandy Bridge chipsalready have hit the market, though theyre larger than what Intel is aiming for and only a handful break the $1,000 price barrier the chip maker has set for Ultrabooks. However, company officials are looking at the 22nm Ivy Bridge chipswhich feature such enhancements as Intels 3D Tri-Gate transistor technologyto rapidly grow the selection of Ultrabooks on the market and drive down costs.
The newer Ultrabooks will come with better battery life, the ability to come out of hibernation mode in less than seven seconds and a host of Intel technologies, including Smart Connect Technology, that will enable the systems to update email and social networks even while in sleep mode, and security offerings Intel Anti-Theft and Intel Identity Protection.
The goal of Ultrabooks is to offer users systems with the same productivity capabilities as traditional PCs and features found in tablets, such as long battery life and always-on connectivity. In addition, many will come with touch-screen capabilities, thanks in large part to the support of touch screens in Microsofts upcoming Windows 8 operating system.
Intel officials see a big market for Ultrabook convertibles, which can switch between laptop and tablet modes. The agreements between Intel and the touch-screen vendors will help push Ultrabook adoption, according to Kilroy.
He said touch capabilities are only the start of creating a more natural interactive experience with computers. Getting other senses involved will follow. In January, Intel and Nuance, which makes its Dragon speech-recognition software, entered into an agreement to optimize the Dragon engine and speech technology for Ultrabooks, allowing users to do everything, from initiating voice over IP (VOIP) calls to updating their social network status using their voices.
During the show, Kilroy showed a system armed with Nuances Dragon technology responding to a users voice commands.
He also talked about Intels growing efforts in the smartphone space. Already several Intel-based devices have hit the market, including Oranges San Diego Android-based smartphone, available in France and the United Kingdom; Lenovos LePhone K800 being sold in China; and Lava Internationals XOLO X900, launched in India in April.
At the same time, Clover Trail, the upcoming 32nm version of Atom, is the basis for 20 tablet design wins, Kilroy said. The devices will support Windows 8, which is optimized for the tablet platform, he said.