Intel's next-gen ultrabook design concept looks sharp

January 7, 2013 2:43 PM PST / Updated: January 7, 2013 4:59 PM PST

CNET/Josh Miller

LAS VEGAS--One of the highlights of Intel's CES press conference was a design concept for an ultrabook featuring the upcoming fourth generation of Intel Core i-series processors.

While concept designs such as this rarely make the transition into shipping products, many of the ideas and details do, and you could very well see something reasonably similar-looking when the next-gen Haswell Intel CPUs make their way into systems.

At the press conference, this slim, white ultrabook, with scooped-out sides and edge-to-edge glass over the display, was easily the closest thing to a buzzworthy new consumer product Intel showed off (also featured were a parade of previously announced laptops and hybrids ).

Following the new rules Intel is setting for next-gen ultrabooks (the term Ultrabook is owned by Intel), this 17-millimeter design concept featured a touch screen, which will be a requirement from now on. It was also -- not surprisingly -- designed as a hybrid, with a detachable screen that functions on its own as a standalone Windows 8 slate.

CNET/Josh Miller

That means the Core i-series CPU and a battery are behind the display, while a second battery is in the keyboard base. Intel says this design concept can run for 13 hours as a laptop, and 10 hours as a tablet, all with a Core i7 CPU.

The 11.6-inch display has what Intel calls a one-finger "special mechanism" for removing it, but it looked a lot like the double clasp in the Lenovo Helix . The difference here is that when the screen is removed, the aspect ratio changes, supposedly to make games and movies easier to interact with from a handheld perspective.

We could very easily never see this particular design concept again, or it could be the basis of a holiday 2013 ultrabook. According to Intel, this, or similar systems, could cost $799-$899.

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Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of laptops, desktops, and Windows tablets, while also writing about games, gadgets, and other topics. A former radio DJ and member of Mensa, he's written about music and technology for more than 15 years, appearing in publications including Spin, Blender, and Men's Journal.