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Touchscreen ultrabooks coming with Windows 8

Intel has vowed that next year we'll see ultrabooks with touchscreens hitting the shelves. Fancy!

Chipmaker Intel reckons we'll see touchscreen ultrabooks hitting the shelves next year, alongside Windows 8.

Windows 8 will bring a tiled, widget-style homescreen to the operating system, visually similar to Microsoft's Windows Phone mobile OS. Windows 8 has been designed to work for touchscreens as well as traditional mouse/keyboard setups, so it plays nicely on tablets as well as grownup desktops and laptops.

Speaking at a conference, Intel Grand Poobah Paul Otellini said, "Starting with Windows 8, you have a mainstream operating system incorporating touch," CNET News reports.

"Our view is that in the ultrabook lines, touch is a pretty critical enabler. When users see that new Windows interface, they're going to want to touch it," he promised.

We've already been spoiled by tablets and smart phones, finding ourselves occasionally poking at non-touchscreen displays on things like the Google Chrome Book or Amazon Kindle, expecting a response.

So it's reassuring, if expected, that Intel has touchscreens in mind for the next generation of ultrabooks.

Otellini also noted that Intel would have to work to reduce the cost of touchscreen tech to keep buyers interested. That's something we strongly agree with -- all ultrabooks are competing with the ludicrously slick MacBook Air, and so far all of them have hit the shops with prices similar to that of Apple's offering.

We want to see cheaper, Windows-powered alternatives to the Air on sale next year.

Are you intrigued by the growing fleet of super-thin, powerful ultrabook laptops? Or would you rather have a MacBook Air nestling in your rucksack? Tell us down in the comments, on our Facebook wall or over on our Google+ page.