Intel shows off touchscreen Windows Ultrabook

With users now getting to grips with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview – and Microsoft revealing more details about how business can embrace the new operating system, just as much as consumers – we’re starting to get a clearer idea of how the OS will run on existing PCs. But of course, that’s only half of the story; Windows 8 promises to introduce some exciting new hardware designs, and even entirely new form factors, to the Windows ecosystem.

We’re still many months away from being able to buy systems designed for Windows 8, but that hasn’t stopped manufacturers from giving us a taste of what’s to come. The latest to do so is Intel, which has been showing off a new Ultrabook system at CeBIT, featuring a touchscreen and a next-generation 1.5GHz Ivy Bridge processor.

The 13.3” capacitive touchscreen LCD features a resolution of 1600x900px, and Engadget describes it as ‘gorgeous’. The rest of the system’s specs are rather vague, but HDMI and twin USB 3.0 ports can be spotted, along with slots for SD and SIM cards, and NFC.

The killer feature here is of course the touchscreen – but given that this system is a one-off, destined never to go into mass production, it’s surprising that Intel chose to show it running Windows 7, rather than the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which just begs to be touched. Even so, The Verge described the system as “an absolute delight to use”, with responsive and snappy touch interaction.

Reference designs such as this Ultrabook often preview new technologies, or demonstrate how other manufacturers might incorporate new features and enhancements into their own designs. In this case, Intel hopes to showcase the benefits of adding the touch user experience to a familiar form factor.

As stylish as the Intel Ultrabook undoubtedly is, though, it’s perhaps not quite as exciting as Lenovo’s new Windows 8 device, the IdeaPad Yoga, a convertible notebook with a touchscreen that ‘flips’ into a tablet format; check out our video of that device from the Consumer Electronics Show in January.


Images via Engadget

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iamwasiq said,
What a beauty!..i mean just look at the design..superb

Yep, that design is totally original, other than the fact that it looks quite similar to most other ultrabooks that are already on the market, and has more than a passing similarity to a cross between a Macbook (color) and a Macbook Air (form factor). And what the hell is up with that huge green circle on the palmrest? I'm guessing it is a sticker of some sort, but I can't see any writing or logos on it.

The problem I have the Ipad is that you really need a computer certain functions. Then your carrying around 2 devices that sync to each some how. One device that does it all makes sense. Detachable screens are going to be the norm in a few years.

Melfster said,
The problem I have the Ipad is that you really need a computer certain functions.
What function of the iPad requires a computer? In previous versions of iOS that was true, at least for initial setup or updates, but not any more.

roadwarrior said,
What function of the iPad requires a computer? In previous versions of iOS that was true, at least for initial setup or updates, but not any more.

There are many appplications that a PC does better then Ipad. Most content creation is a real chore on the ipad. Try editing a web page or Photoshop. Try getting pictures you get with DSLR camera without using a computer.

Melfster said,

There are many appplications that a PC does better then Ipad. Most content creation is a real chore on the ipad. Try editing a web page or Photoshop. Try getting pictures you get with DSLR camera without using a computer.

Fair enough, I guess I misunderstood what you were saying then. Most people I've seen, however understand that an iPad is not designed to do the same things as a notebook.

Windows 8 will create an era of weird formfactors which we'll laugh upon in a few years. Desktop PC's will get touch-technology, but it will be very uncomfortable to use them. The same is the case for touch-enabled notebooks. These products will be ridiculed in a few years for sure.

I think some foldable hybrid Ultrabooks can be very popular, so you basicly get a desktop/tablet combined. It's the only logical system that makes sense with Windows 8.

Dannydeman said,
Windows 8 will create an era of weird formfactors which we'll laugh upon in a few years. Desktop PC's will get touch-technology, but it will be very uncomfortable to use them. The same is the case for touch-enabled notebooks. These products will be ridiculed in a few years for sure.

I think some foldable hybrid Ultrabooks can be very popular, so you basicly get a desktop/tablet combined. It's the only logical system that makes sense with Windows 8.

Is something like the ASUS Transformer Prime a weird form factor?

Nice looking laptop. I hope they figure out what is an ultrabook and what is a laptop though. Seems like a lot of confusion there.

M_Lyons10 said,
Nice looking laptop. I hope they figure out what is an ultrabook and what is a laptop though. Seems like a lot of confusion there.

No confusion at all. An "ultrabook" is basically just a netbook with a low power notebook class processor, usually in an even slimmer form factor than even most netbooks, although usually with a 13" display, although 14 and 15" are available as well. The most obvious example is a MacBook Air (even though it isn't officially called an ultrabook, it meets the general criteria).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultrabook

It's a good thing they use a 1600x900 display on a 13" notebook. About bloody time too. I can't stand all the crappy 1366x768 displays out there. After having a 1600x900 matte display on my 13.1" notebook I can't use anything else anymore!

Resolution is a serious problem and the HDTV standards of 720p/1080p have been holding computing back for far too long.

Joshie said,
Resolution is a serious problem and the HDTV standards of 720p/1080p have been holding computing back for far too long.

How so? Either one is a 16:9 aspect ratio, so they both scale well to 1600x900 (down for 1080p and up for 720p). Its the damned 16:10 displays on some desktops and notebooks that were a real problem, since they don't fit either 4:3 or 16:9 video formats well at all.

roadwarrior said,

How so? Either one is a 16:9 aspect ratio, so they both scale well to 1600x900 (down for 1080p and up for 720p). Its the damned 16:10 displays on some desktops and notebooks that were a real problem, since they don't fit either 4:3 or 16:9 video formats well at all.

Scaling isn't the issue. It's the high demand for those precise resolutions that keeps them in priority production and all other resolutions become 'niche'. I don't give a crap about whether video has black bars because of the aspect ratio. It's the pixels, and only the pixels, that I'm paying attention to.

Joshie said,

Scaling isn't the issue. It's the high demand for those precise resolutions that keeps them in priority production and all other resolutions become 'niche'. I don't give a crap about whether video has black bars because of the aspect ratio. It's the pixels, and only the pixels, that I'm paying attention to.


Then you should be happy for 1080p since that would give you an even higher resolution than 1600x900. But I do see what you are talking about, since I haven't seen many laptops (especially smaller ones) with a 1080p screen.

They should take note of the Asus Transformer. I just bought a Samsung 7 Slate. I wish I could put the Bluetooth keyboard and slate in a body and treat it like a laptop. then pop the screen and keyboard out and suddenly it's a slate again.

Xerax said,
They should take note of the Asus Transformer. I just bought a Samsung 7 Slate. I wish I could put the Bluetooth keyboard and slate in a body and treat it like a laptop. then pop the screen and keyboard out and suddenly it's a slate again.

I bought one of those in November. Had there been a transformer keyboard dock for it I would still have it. I couldn't justify the price for the slate only so I sold it after 2 weeks.

The problem I have with these is that touch screens are not good for vertical use because of arm fatigue. I would hope manufacturers would think about this and design a laptop that works as a traditional laptop and one that could be used with the touch screen laying flat

Critics of touch screen laptops and desktops have been talking about arm fatigue for years and the opinion has had zero impact on designers. Find a better complaint.

Either way, I don't care about the critics. I want every good and bad idea to be put out as rapidly as possible. Increase demand for touch screens and drive those prices down so that when the good ideas come along they aren't priced prohibitively because negative nancies with weak arms kept it a niche market.

wv@gt said,
The problem I have with these is that touch screens are not good for vertical use because of arm fatigue. I would hope manufacturers would think about this and design a laptop that works as a traditional laptop and one that could be used with the touch screen laying flat

Steve Jobs exact quote? Do you lay your ipad flat on a table every time to use it? I doubt it.

Cyborg_X said,

Steve Jobs exact quote? Do you lay your ipad flat on a table every time to use it? I doubt it.


The difference is that with a tablet, you are generally holding it with one hand while touching the screen with the other, both at approximately the same distance. With a notebook, it is generally either on a desk in front of you or on your lap, usually at a farther distance than you would hold a tablet. And touch screen desktops are even more of an issue since the display is usually well past arm's length away from you.

roadwarrior said,

The difference is that with a tablet, you are generally holding it with one hand while touching the screen with the other, both at approximately the same distance. With a notebook, it is generally either on a desk in front of you or on your lap, usually at a farther distance than you would hold a tablet. And touch screen desktops are even more of an issue since the display is usually well past arm's length away from you.

They did not say they were taking away the keyboard did they? Buckle up. The only constant is change.

Joshie said,
Critics of touch screen laptops and desktops have been talking about arm fatigue for years and the opinion has had zero impact on designers. Find a better complaint.

Instead it had a huge impact on sales, this type of notebook with touch screen has been available for many years now but never caught on. Also, Apple is one of the bigger companies who said from the get go this type of touch screen isn't going to work.

wv@gt said,
The problem I have with these is that touch screens are not good for vertical use because of arm fatigue. I would hope manufacturers would think about this and design a laptop that works as a traditional laptop and one that could be used with the touch screen laying flat

What I personally don't get is just because an input method is there does not mean that you will always be using it. Sometimes, it really does make far more sense to touch a screen than use a mouse and keyboard when you have the option. You don't have to do so all the time, just often enough that it becomes useful to you.

Cyborg_X said,

They did not say they were taking away the keyboard did they? Buckle up. The only constant is change.


Where in the hell did I ever say they were? I was simply pointing out that there IS a difference in the way you use a touch screen on a tablet and using one on a notebook or desktop. That little bit of difference may not sound like much, but from an ergonomics standpoint, it is significant.

wv@gt said,
The problem I have with these is that touch screens are not good for vertical use because of arm fatigue. I would hope manufacturers would think about this and design a laptop that works as a traditional laptop and one that could be used with the touch screen laying flat

i here this argument alot of times and i actually agreed with it, until my friend bought a touch screen desktop and realized how easier and quicker everything was, it's hard to explain but if you used one you would realize that it is 'sometimes' better than a mouse