Intel: Future Ultrabooks more tablet-like

Chip giant's chief financial officer says future Ultrabooks will look less like traditional laptops and will be able to switch between content consumption and content creation modes.

Speaking at a technology conference, Intel's chief financial officer outlined a not-too-distant future when Ultrabooks take on the hallmarks of the tablet. He also touched on Windows 8 competition.

"Form factors in the notebook market have been somewhat stagnant over the last several years," CFO Stacy Smith said today at the Citi Technology Conference in New York City. New Ultrabook designs coming over the next 18 months, however, should change that, Smith said.

"You'll have the ability to have flip screen, it'll be touch mode in certain situations [then] you flip it back around and it's a real productivity device. Now that's not going to happen in 2011, but in time that's how we're going to evolve this [Ultrabook] platform," he said.

Future Ultrabooks will be hybrid designs that are not like traditional laptops.  Intel and PC makers are aiming to offer the best of both laptops and tablets.
Future Ultrabooks will be hybrid designs that are not like traditional laptops. Intel and PC makers are aiming to offer the best of both laptops and tablets. Intel/Citi Technology Conference

"We're going to take the notebook through yet another transition into something called an Ultrabook...Very thin, long battery life, light devices, always on, instantly connected, touch-screen capable," he said later in the conference.

Smith also addressed Windows 8 and the fact that Microsoft's next operating system will run on both Intel and ARM processors from suppliers like Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Nvidia. "There's going to be the Win 8 that's for PCs and Ultrabooks. That's where legacy applications are enabled. You're not going to see ARM in that segment of the marketplace," Smith said. "Then there's the Windows 8 that's targeted at tablets and devices," he said.

Not surprisingly, Smith said he believes that Intel will be able to compete effectively with ARM in the latter market. "We know there will also be ARM devices there. The key for us is to just deliver more performance in that form factor, more features in that form factor. We think that enables us to do well and enables us to win our fair share of the [market]."

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