Intel's Mooly Eden began the computing brand's unexpectedly good CES 2012 press conference by revealing the company has sold over 150 million Sandy Bridge processors since their launch this time last year.
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Turns out Intel believes we're not all about the tablet and we'll be seeing convertible Ultrabooks that run Windows 8 - we saw a prototype waved around with a siding screen, while another had GPS and gyroscope for gaming.
There was also a demo of the Intel Nikiski concept, which has a transparent trackpad that doubles as a mini screen so you can preview emails and tweets. If you're thinking you've seen this kind of thing before, you're probably thinking about Windows Vista's Sideshow. And what a success that was.
Touch is high on Intel's agenda with Windows 8. "In the last 30 years, the number of transistors has gone up one million per cent," said Eden. "But if you look at the user interfaces, we didn't do a lot. We didn't have enough computer power to do what people wanted to do.
"There'd been a lot of experiments, but you didn't have the power [to make] natural user interfaces. We've seen people moving to touch, but for some reason touch skipped the notebook. But it's not going to skip the Ultrabook any more.
"People don't want to give away their physical keyboard, they want to enjoy both worlds."
Apparently 75 Ultrabooks are currently in various stages of design, some of which will be touch-capable.
Eden was keen to stress that Intel is also working on getting thinner and lighter Ultrabooks. "The first impression when we get it to people is 'wow'. That's not a technology word.
"But the big challenge was that if you want to take a 32 or 40mm (thick) notebook and translate it to 18mm - and read my lips, 18mm is only the beginning - there are many components that need to be changed and manufactured in high volume in order to drive the costs down. The [target price for Ultrabooks has been] $999. Our target is to pull it lower collectively.
"The first challenge is the display panel. We've got it down to 5mm, but we need to get it down to 3mm. And it can be done. We need to look at the battery life. We are building the Ultrabook step-by-step. And then there's the hard drive, at 9.5mm. We need to work with the ecosystem to make it 7mm.
"We need to look at the motherboard and solder the processor to the motherboard to save on socket size. We designed a new processor that instead of 30W consumes 17W, so the less heat, the smaller the heatsink can be."
Eden talked up Intel's involvement in the cost reduction of those components. "The minute that people saw we were dead serious, the minute that OEMs joined us, the economies of scale kicked in and the price tag [started] going down. We are working with them to develop new materials for chassis and you'll see the price start going down and down. You'll see Ultrabooks going into the mainstream price points."
Eden also talked about the power of the DirectX-11 capable Ivy Bridge hybrid CPUs set to debut during 2012, and showed us a Havok demo running on the hardware. "I said in the past it's not going to be 30 per cent or 40 per cent better.
"It's completely redesigned. Let me whet your appetite. It's not going to be 50 per cent or 60 per cent or 70 per cent or even 80 per cent. Definitely it's going to be a different experience."
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