Intel talks up Ultrabooks at CES

Secure payments, touchscreens, gesture and voice recognition all in the pipeline
Adam Smith

January 10, 2012
Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook

Intel is set to push its Ultrabook range hard this coming year, laying out its plans for future devices at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The Ultrabook is a super-slim notebook which is Intel’s response to the success of tablets since the launch of the iPad.

Mooly Eden, Intel’s VP of PC, led the CES presentation in which it was revealed that there are 75 Ultrabooks in the pipeline for 2012, much like the flood of tablets which was revealed at CES last year.

Those devices will come in a variety of form factors, including larger 14 and 15 inch display models, and 2012’s Ultrabooks will move forward with Ivy Bridge processors starting from the spring.

Intel is also set to add touchscreens to the Ultrabook range, with the company noting that: “Users found the use of touch on a clamshell design, and the seamless transition between the use of touch applications and the keyboard to be compelling and natural.”

Furthermore, Eden revealed that future Ultrabooks would come complete with sensors to allow gesture control in a Kinect style.

Speech recognition is also on the menu, with a partnership with Nuance Communications announced. Voice control is expected to debut on Ultrabooks in 2012.

Finally, the issue of security was touched upon, with the introduction of contactless payments and NFC to the devices. Intel also announced a collaboration with Mastercard to provide, we quote, “more options for a safer and simpler check-out process for online merchants and MasterCard cardholders using Ultrabook devices.”

Eden noted that Intel’s $300 million Ultrabook research fund was key to the continued development of methods to keep the machines slim, while extending battery life, implementing efficient cooling, and perhaps most important of all – keeping the price down.

Currently Ultrabooks are on the pricey side, particularly when compared to tablets, and so making their asking prices more palatable is a priority for the company.


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