When the apocalypse comes, we’ll all die with an ultrabook in our hands if Intel has its way. The chip giant presented a swath of portables—both new and old—Monday morning, and outlined their continued commitment to the ultrabook ecosystem in 2012.
Services such as PayPass—which will allow users to make payments by tapping their credit cards to the device using NFC—and Nuance speech recognition are being incorporated into new Intel partner devices. The goal, said the chip giant, is not only to produce thinner and lighter machines, but laptops that are both fast and capable too, thanks to Intel’s forthcoming Ivy Bridge chipset.
Each ultrabook released in 2012 will be at least 18mm or thinner, said Intel, thanks to research and development stemming form Intel’s 300 million dollar Ultrabook fund. New component designs and materials mean that partner manufacturers have been able to decrease the size of hard drives, displays and batteries to millimeters thickness, all of which translates to thinner machines. But unlike the MacBook Air, which retails starting at $999, Intel and its partners are aiming much lower. Though no specifics were offered, the goal is to sell new devices at a “mainstream price point.”
In an interesting twist, Intel is convinced that touch screens will flourish on ultrabook form factors, especially when used in conjunction with traditional input methods. Described as the “best of both worlds,” presenters demoed forthcoming ultrabooks with Windows 8 gesture support on-stage. Intel also demoed an improved version of its Nikiski concept laptop, first unveiled at Computex last year, which touts a large, transparent, double-sided touch panel in place of a traditional trackpad. However, when the laptop is closed, the panel acts as a window, allowing the user to see and interact with a slice of the screen.