TAIPEI: Intel has unveiled a new category of ultra-light notebook christened the 'ultrabook', and showed off the first prototype smartphone and tablet based on its forthcoming Medfield 32nm platform, as the firm seeks to turn up the pressure on ARM in the mobile computing space.
ARM has boldly claimed that it will grab half of the market for mobile PC devices by 2015, and Intel is keen to show that it can match the British chip designer with low power, high performance chips.
Sean Moloney, Intel's new president of China, said in his opening keynote that ultrabooks should cost under $1,000 and be ideally less than 0.8in thick. He also promised that the first devices will hit the shelves in time for Christmas.
"By 2015, the number of people who can afford a PC goes up dramatically, but we can't rest," he said.
"The PC must continue to evolve. Consumers are demanding new experiences and the PC has to meet that demand. The PC must undergo a change again."
The new ultrabooks will be powered initially by Sandy Bridge processors and then, in the early part of next year, by Ivy Bridge chips. Haswell chips will follow in 2013 with a target of reducing power consumption by half.
Moloney was joined on stage by Asus chairman Jonney Shih, whose new UX series product is one of the first ultrabooks around, having been debuted on Monday.
Other innovations set for ultrabook users are Rapid Start and Smart Connect, both of which are soon coming to Sandy Bridge chips.
Rapid Start is a super-efficient hibernation mode which allows users to resume in just five seconds. It also requires no power to completely remember the device set-up, as Moloney demonstrated by taking out the battery while the ultrabook was still in hibernation mode.
Smart Connect, meanwhile, "wakes up the system periodically" while it is in hibernate mode to check for updates or new emails, for example, saving time when the user resumes work.
Moloney also briefly showed off the first tablet device running its new Medfield 32nm platform, which is Intel's attempt to crack a tablet and smartphone market dominated by ARM.
"Our customers will use these [Medfield designs] for their initial Medfield products," he said.
"Basically we laid out the blueprint to design the phone and tablet optimised for Medfield, initially on Android and later for MeeGo. Customers are evaluating the designs now."
Mooley Eden, general manager of Intel's PC Client group, admitted at a press conference following the keynote that the company had been slow to the tablet game, allowing ARM to make significant gains.
"We are late. Many tablets don't have Intel visibility, but we're putting a lot of effort in there," he said. "We will be competing in the tablet area and I don't see any reason why we can't win because we have the best transistors."
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