January 09, 2012
| by Steven Castle
Want the lightness and touchscreen of a tablet but want a keyboard like a laptop or netbook? Then you may be in the market for an “ultrasleek” ultrabook, a new class of portable computers that aims to provide the best of both worlds.
Ultrabooks have been available for a few months from companies such as Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, LG, Samsung and Toshiba. They feature rapid start technology to start up in 7 seconds and multicore Intel computer chips to access HD video quicker and last up to eight hours on a charge.
Intel says some 60 new ultrabooks are in the pipeline for 20120, and some of them will have have touchscreen features and voice recognition, says Intel.
“People do not want to give up the real keyboard, but they want both worlds: keyboard and a [touch] screen,” says Mooly Eden, the general manager of the PC Client Group.
Intel showed new ultrabooks by Acer, Asus, HP and Toshiba, and convertible ultrabooks where the keyboard folds down the screen. But the device that stole the show was a cool-looking prototype called Nikiski, which has a transparent touchpad across the bottom, and when folded the transparent touchpad is displayed on the back so you can carry around and see your schedule, calendar, meetings, news feed, using Windows 8.
Intel also indicated that ultrabooks would have voice control features and announced announced a partnership with Nuance to integrate speech recognition directly into Ultrabooks. “Now that we have devices like ultrabooks, why not have speech and talk to them?” said Mooly Eden, the general manager of the PC Client Group.
The company also showed the possibility of gesture control by using a slingshot game.
The question is, will people embrace ultrabooks in a world quickly becoming dominated by tablet devices? Jury’s still out.
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates