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Intel CEO touts Ultrabooks and 'Haswell' chip

At the company's developer conference today, Intel CEO Paul Otellini speaks about the importance of Ultrabooks and two chips that will evolve the Ultrabook platform.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini touts Ultrabooks today at the company's developers' conference in San Francisco.
James Martin/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO--Intel Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini said Ultrabooks will realize Intel's vision of the "complete" computing experience and spoke about an upcoming power-efficient chip for Ultrabooks.

"The Ultrabook is our vision that delivers the complete computing experience...more responsive, engaging," said Otellini, speaking today at the company's developer conference in San Francisco. "Implications of the Ultrabook are huge," he said.

Ultrabooks are very light, thin Windows laptops that Intel and PC vendors hope will compete effectively with the MacBook Air. Meant to emulate tablets in some respects, Ultrabooks are also designed to have instant-on capability and a relatively long battery life despite their compact size.

"It will be affordable," Otellini said, touching on an imperative for Ultrabooks. What affordable means is not clear but generally this means under $1,000. Most analysts believe that's the maximum cutoff to be competitive with Apple's MacBook Air.

And Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 will be the software catalyst that helps transform the personal computing experience, Otellini said. The operating system will run on both tablets and laptops.

Two chips will accelerate the evolution of the Ultrabook, Otellini said. The first is Ivy Bridge--due to ship early next year--the follow-on to the widely-used Sandy Bridge processor. Ivy Bridge will implement Intel's 3D transistor technology and be approximately 50 percent more power efficient than its predecessor.

The second is Haswell, which is expected to be Intel's first complete system-on-a-chip--not unlike what competing ARM chip suppliers use in smartphones--for mainstream computing.

The Toshiba Portege, one of the Ultrabooks discussed here at IDF today. James Martin/CNET

Haswell will reduce "platform power" by factor of 20, he said. "All-day usage, 10 days of standby." The reduction in platform power means essentially that standby time is greatly increased.

Google's Andy Rubin also made an appearance to announce a "continuation" of its partnership with Intel. To this end, Intel showed off its Medfield Atom chip in a smartphone running the Android OS.

Intel showed Medfield smartphones that are expected in the first half 2012, Otellini said.