Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Intel backs ultra-light laptops with new age controls


US chip giant Intel on Monday heralded a coming wave of affordable high-powered, thin laptops that could double as tablet computers and be controlled by gestures or spoken commands.

Intel vice president Mooly Eden showed off coming "ultrabooks" by Lenovo, Acer, Asus, Samsung, Toshiba, LG and Hewlett Packard as well as a curiously innovative prototype Nikiski laptop powered by yet-to-be-released Windows 8 software.

The Nikiski had a transparent touch pad panel below a standard keyboard. When closed the panel provided a window to the laptop screen and allowed it to be controlled with touches or swipes in a tablet style.

"We started six months ago to deliver ultrabooks and are ramping as we speak," Eden told reporters packed into a ballroom for a press conference on the eve of the official opening of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

"We would like average people to be able to enjoy the ultrabook experience, because you know the first ones were $999 or more," he continued. "Our target is to pull the price down and make ultrabooks mainstream."

About 50 ultrabooks were expected to debut at CES in one of the defining trends of this year's show.

Mooly said the power of computer chips has finally enabled laptop makers to deliver sleek and slim, yet powerful, ultrabooks with the potential to be controlled by gestures or voice and to eventually serve as spoken language interpreters.