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Ultra-thin notebooks have existed for many years now, but only recently those systems became truly thin and light. Traditionally, ultra-thin laptops featured reduced performance and capabilities and could hardly serve as true mobile workstations. Intel Corp. wants to change that and its future microprocessors will enable new class of systems: ultrabooks, thin, light yet powerful laptops.

“Computing is taking many forms. Technology innovation is a catalyst, and we believe the changes Intel is making to its roadmaps, together with strong industry collaboration, will bring about an exciting change in personal computing over the next few years,” said Sean Maloney, an executive vice president at Intel, during his keynote at Computex Taipei 2011 trade-show.

Intel believes that the forthcoming Ultrabook computers will marry the performance and capabilities of today’s laptops with tablet-like features and deliver a highly responsive and secure experience, in a thin, light and elegant design. Intel presently considers Ultrabooks as a vision, not as a product category. The ultimate goal is projected to be achieved several generations of chips from now.

Asus UX21 laptop

The first Ultrabooks are set to emerge this year and they will be based on Intel Core i-series "Sandy Bridge" chips. According to Intel, this family of products will enable thin, light and stylish designs that are less than 20mm/0.8mm thick, and mainstream price points under $1000. Systems based on these chips will be available for the 2011 winter holiday shopping season.

At the Computex Taipei 2011 trade-show Intel and Asustek Computer Demonstrated the Asus UX21 ultra-thin laptops powered by the current-generation 32nm Core i-series microprocessors.

“At Asus, we are very much aligned with Intel’s vision of Ultrabook. Our customers are demanding an uncompromised computing experience in a lightweight, highly portable design that responds to their needs quickly. Transforming the PC into an ultra thin, ultra responsive device will change the way people interact with their PC," said Jonney Shih, the chairman of Asustek Computer.

Jonney Shih holding Asus UX21

The second breed of Ultrabooks will be powered by code-named Ivy Bridge microprocessors due in the second half of 2012. Laptops based on Ivy Bridge will bring improved power efficiency, smart visual performance, increased responsiveness and enhanced security. The systems will also include USB 3.0 and optional Thunderbolt technologies which are part of Intel’s ongoing work to drive the PC platform forward.

The third generation of Ultrabooks will be powered by code-named Haswell processors that will become available in 2013. With Haswell, Intel promises to change the mainstream laptop thermal design point by reducing the microprocessor power to half of today’s design point, which means something like 15W - 18.5W.

Tags: Intel, Ivy Bridge, Haswell, ASUS


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