September 14, 2011

Intel Ultrabook plans detailed at IDF

by Darren Allan

The Intel Developer Forum is currently underway in San Francisco, and predictably enough CEO Paul Otellini had plenty to say in his opening keynote.

In the speech, Otellini touched on how new Atom processors would be twinned with the Android OS in a mobile partnership with Google.

He also discussed how Intel was set to push the limits of the ultraportable PC with the Ultrabook, which is set to challenge the tablet as the lightweight mobile computing medium of choice. At least in Intel’s opinion…

He noted concerns on the price of the devices versus tablets, which are getting ever cheaper now the slate market is becoming more flooded, and insisted that the Ultrabook would be “mainstream-priced”.

But with higher-end tech performance, of course. The current Ultrabooks which are about to be unleashed use Sandy Bridge, but next year’s models will shift to Ivy Bridge 22nm technology for a considerable performance boost.

Ivy Bridge uses the new “3D” Tri-gate transistors, but exactly how much faster it will be over and above Sandy Bridge is currently an unknown factor, with Intel keeping firmly schtum and not revealing any hard (or indeed soft) numbers.

At any rate, Ivy Bridge will effectively only be a stepping stone to the more revolutionary Haswell technology that is destined for the Ultrabooks of 2013.

Otellini said that Haswell would provide a “new class of platform power management”, with advances in silicon tech expected to reduce idle power consumption over twenty times while maintaining contemporary performance levels.

In other words, smaller and lighter batteries for more compact devices, yet with longer battery life.

Otellini said he expected 2013 to bring forth an Ultrabook with over 10 days of standby battery life, enabling users to leave the device on all the time, for always-connected computing.

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