• Intel Unveils 'UltraBook' Design Wants to Compete with iPad and MacBook Air

    Intel and announcements at the Computex trade show were similar to a two-year-old learning their first words. You couldn't get them to shut up.

    Intel's proposed "Ultrabooks" would combine the performance capabilities of a laptop with "tablet-like features" in a "thin, light, and elegant design" according to Executive VP Sean Maloney. Intel is shooting to have these Ultrabooks be less than 20mm thick and cost less than $1,000. They will utilize Sandy Bridge processors, but make the transition to Intel's next generation "Ivy Bridge" processors when they're available.

    The ultimate goal is to introduce products currently codenamed "Haswell." These products will reduce microprocessor power to nearly half of "todays design point." Can you imagine the battery life? The first company to partner with Intel will be Asus. Whether this partnership will extend to the recently announced Padfone is yet to be seen, but it would allow Asus to design ultraportable notebooks to compete with Apple's MacBook Air.

    The roadmap laid out by intel includes ignoring Moore's Law and producing Atom processors, aimed at tablets, and smartphones, that utilize 32nm, 22nm, and 14nm chip architecture in three consecutive years. Intel has openly stated they would love to position themselves as a competitor to ARM and Nvidia, who currently dominate the mobile processing market.

    Also, Intel hasn't been shy about wanting to have its mobile processors find their way into Apple's mobile devices. If Intel can deliver on the promise of increased battery life, exponential leaps in computing power, and being open to work with Apple, having the mobile device giant shift away from its current ARM architecture could very well reshape the landscape of mobile computing.

    Still there is mounting competition fron Nvidia with the imminent release of their Tegra 3 processors. The graphics giant showed off a number tech demos, which highlighted the processor's ability to render dynamic lighting, amongst other effects current generation mobile processors struggle with. Nvidia's CEO made some bold claims in talks with journalists at Computex. The boldest though was a prediction that tablets would outperform PCs in five years. I'm no pessimist, but based on form factor and power constraints alone I do not foresee that happening. For basic tasks such as web browsing, portable devices might outperform or become equal to their laptop or desktop counterparts, but for heavy computing tasks such as 3-D rendering, and other media design applications they will never outperform their desktop counterparts.

    Honestly, for both Intel and Nvidia the endgame is Apple. Steve Jobs and company own the tablet and smartphone markets. Whichever technology they ultimately embrace, is the technology that will succeed. Other tablet producers will fall in line to compete as well. Competition is necessary in the marketplace to spur innovation and competition has reached a fever-pitch in all facets of the mobile computing world. The next few years will undoubtedly be interesting.

    Source: Intel
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