Intel: Ultrabook Project is Akin to Centrino

Intel Expects Ultrabooks to Be as Revolutionary as Centrino

by Anton Shilov
07/21/2011 | 11:36 AM

As the largest maker of chips in the world, Intel Corp. presents various initiatives pretty constantly, some become massively popular, other vanish into oblivion. One of the latest proposals of the company is Ultrabook, a low-power highly-responsive notebook with maximum performance, feature-set and security. According to Intel, the Ultrabook may prove to be one of the most important market events of the decade, just like Centrino was in 2003.


"The Ultrabook project is much more akin to Centrino: it is a very holistic approach to moving the entire market to a different kind of form factor, not just in terms of its thinness, but in terms of the feature-set. I talked about always on, always connected. So the machine is always aware of the networks around it. I talked about instant on, instant boot capability. We talked about building in integral touch into it, another feature set. So this is as much about the features around the skin, or inside the skin, as the shape of the skin," said Paul Otellini, chief executive officer of Intel, during quarterly conference call with financial analysts.

Intel Centrino platform revolutionized the market of notebooks back in 2003 as it guaranteed high-performance, reliability and Wi-Fi support. Several years after Centrino launch notebooks became much more affordable and nowadays the total available market of laptops is bigger than that of desktops.

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.

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.

"As we look at this with our customers, we also see that there is a great deal of engineering that has to be done. Because one thing we know is that today, these feature-sets cost more money. But we do not think that PC prices are going to go up over time. So what we have to do is work with the ecosystem to cost engineer these features for high-volume price-point displacement," added Mr. Otellini.