Intel Corp. said that it is strongly encouraging its partners among notebook manufacturers to incorporate touchscreens into ultrabooks. The world's largest maker of chips believes that ultrabooks will eventually combine major values of products like Apple Macbook Air and Apple iPad while offering better overall value.
"We fundamentally believe in the concept of touch, and touch on a clamshell. We believe it is going to take off in 2012 or at least 2013, especially with Windows 8. It really feels like now is the right time, now that the hardware and software are working really well together. We are strongly encouraging our partners to incorporate touch on the ultrabooks," said Anand Kajshmanan, an Intel product manager, in an interview with PCWorld.
Although from the software perspective Windows 8 will enable touch-based input on a mainstream operating system (if a PC OS with a mobile phone-like user interface can be called mainstream for the majority of users), there are hardware limitations as well. There are a number of things that prevent touchscreen-based devices from becoming widespread: one is manufacturing cost, another is heat produced by components of electronic devices (which makes touch-screens uncomfortable to use). The pricing of touchscreens is something Intel intends to take care of this year, but which will be pretty hard to do as notebook makers already have to use very thin display panels that are costly even now.
Intel is generally known for promoting technologies and solutions that may not be efficient or viable initially. Eventually, with the collaboration between Intel and its technology partners, those technologies become realistic and find their ways into actual mainstream products. As notebook makers learn how to produce ultrabooks efficiently, they will certainly find ways to create convertibles and hybrids with touchscreens. Intel wants this to happen in 2012 so that ultrabooks could offer all the technologies that devices like Apple's Macbook Air or iPad have amid better value.
"With the Ultrabook, it is about offering all those things in the same device - the great responsiveness, the great battery life - and with an operating system that people have come to love over the years, as well as all the legacy applications that they would like to run," explained Mr. Kajshmanan.