Thursday, March 21, 2013

Getting blown away by Touchscreen Laptops – Intel at the CES 2013

The next gen of laptops was unveiled at the CES 2013
The Intel booth, one of the largest at the show was buzzing with activity when the prototypes based on touch were unveiled on Monday.
The Ultrabook Branding
Intel has started to insist on touchscreen for laptops to get its Ultrabook branding. 
These laptops are based on Windows 8 operating system and Haswell Chipset. 
The changes that it brings to the table in terms of improvement in performance have been encouraging. 
This starts with battery which is promised to last at least for 8 hours. This is definitely much better than the current set of laptops and Ultrabooks based on Ivy Bridge, Intel Core 3rd Generation processors which offer battery life up to 6 hours. 
They also support the Intel Wireless Display which enables laptop’s display to extend to a High Definition TV or monitor through a HDMI Doggle.
The Intel’s latest Haswell chips, provides the much needed impetus for Intel’s quest for next gen devices with longer battery life and bigger processing capabilities.
Small and light efficient Ultrabooks have been made possible due to the improved design. 
We are talking of thicknesses up to 17 mm with the attached keyboard and an unbelievable 10 mm without it. 
The other products on display at the Intel’s booth included tablets from the stables of Acer, Samsung, Dell, Sony and Toshiba based on the new platform. 
It remains to be seen how the Windows 8 based Ultrabooks with detachable screens and convertibles will find acceptance in the market.
The prices of Ultrabooks have continued to remain at $1000, with the entry level ones at $600 since it was introduced. But the prediction of Intel that prices will come down remains to be seen.
Looking into the future
Intel has been pushing convertible tablets and notebooks with the reference designs, unveiled based on the Intel Core i5 or i7 processor family. 
Intel is promising a more than 10 hour battery life and features like sensors, accelerometers to improve performance.
The current trend of Windows 8 convertibles are looked at as the next big thing. 
Transformer Book from Asus, Ideapad Yoga series from Lenovo, XPS 12 from Dell, Elitebook Revolve from HP, Toshiba Satellite U925t and Vaio Duo 11 from Sony are some of the convertibles with no detachable screens. 
The promise of efficient processing and higher performance has been due to the ability to keep the processor from overheating for longer periods of time, in spite of the electronic hardware residing under the keyboard.
Looking at the detachable-screen hybrids, there are a number of upcoming models. The Envy Touchsmart X2 from HP, Ideapad Lynx from Lenovo, Microsoft Surface RT, Ativ Series from Samsung is promised to be the next gen tablet cum hybrid laptops. 
With Intel’s Clover trail based processors preferred by PC makers to keep the processor cool, the electronics can be put behind the screen for the detachable models. 
This enables tablets to last for more than 10 hours, up to 3 weeks standby, improved processing capability over the previous generation of processors.
Newer Models
Also at the CES 2013, Intel unveiled a new smartphone platform called Lexington which will be offered initially by smartphone makers Safaricom, Lava and Acer. 
This is said to be as a low power platform. The other exciting offerings by Intel include developing of gesture-controlled gaming, starting with a version for the game Portal 2.
The Bay Trail processor, a new addition to the quad-core family was also unveiled with the promise of improving tablet performance, up to doubling the computing power of tablets powered by Intel processors.
Intel has also been pushing the concept of perpetual computing which is the next big cool concept according to Intel
The devices are supposed to get senses just like we humans have. 
This would set the ball for the era of mouse less computing rolling. 
The ultimate objective is to blur the line between notebook, tablet and PC. But the success of all Intel’s initiatives would depend primarily on the pricing and ease of usability of the devices.

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