Touch will be 'mandatory' for next-gen Intel ultrabooks

Get ready for the touch-based ultrabook. If Intel has its way, it will be standard on all future ultrabooks.

Acer touch convertible ultrabook shown today Intel's CES keynote: Acer touch convertible: all future ultrabook designs must be touch,  Intel said today.
Acer touch convertible ultrabook shown today Intel's CES keynote: all future ultrabook designs must be touch, Intel said today. CNET

LAS VEGAS--Your next laptop may be touch whether you like it or not.

"To be an ultrabook with 4th generation core [processors], it will be required to have touch," said Kirk Skaugen, vice president of Intel's PC client group at the keynote today, referring to laptops based on Intel's upcoming "Haswell" chip.

That means all ultrabooks coming later this year -- likely in the summer timeframe -- will have touch, not as a feature, but as standard.

This will be a way for suppliers of Windows 8 ultrabooks to demonstrate that they have something that Apple doesn't. Though Apple has a commanding presence with touch phones and tablets, its MacBooks do not offer that capability.

And by mandating this on all future ultrabooks, the Intel camp of PC vendors have a better chance at countering the rise of the iPad, Google's Nexus tablets, and Amazon's Kindle Fire.

Many future ultrabook designs will undoubtedly be able to convert to standalone tablets or mechanically switch to a tablet mode.

And because Haswell will allow thinner designs, their physical dimensions will be less like a traditional laptop and more like a tablet.

Intel also wants to match the battery life of tablets with Haswell. "With the fourth-generation core we'll be able to delver the largest battery life increase, generation on generation, in the history of Intel corporation," Skaugen said.

Intel's next-gen processor will mean more Windows 8 touch laptops like HP's TouchSmart Spectre XT.
Intel's next-gen processor will mean more Windows 8 touch laptops like HP's TouchSmart Spectre XT. Hewlett-Packard
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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