Did you know Intel have shipped 150,000,000 Sandy Bridge processors? A stunning number which not only shows its market leadership but also the scale of the global computing market. So what’s next for Intel?  It’s betting almost everything on ultrabooks.

Ultrabooks as an initiative came about only six months ago. Intel as a company has put some $300 million into a fund to spur on development by vendors and innovators to drive the ultrabook concept through thinner and lighter component parts which all together make up these thin new laptops.

Intel’s Mooly Eden described the need to have a computer that waits for you, not you waiting for your computer – and that really does sum up the general consumer experience when it comes to laptops.

There are dozens of new ultrabooks on display here at CES, all 18mm or thinner. Intel describe the process of the collective group (manufacturers, component makers etc) to get individual parts down in size and weight as the secret to this new product range.  The example given were things like the screen down from 5mm to 3mm, the battery down from 18mm to 6mm and the removal of the socket connecting the processor to the motherboard by just hard wiring the processor to the motherboard.

I don’t think anyone can doubt the very fact that the ultrabook category was spurned from the success of the MacBook Air – we can all remember the laptop that fitted into an envelope, and since then laptops have all been quickly shrinking in an effort to keep up.

So with the rise and rise of tablets in the market place, PC makers have needed to play a little bit of catch up. Expect a large number of ultrabooks to hit the market in 2012.

During Intel’s press presentation this morning they also showed off some rather interesting future concepts – the first seemed quite logical, adding a touch screen to your ultrabook – a touch screen on a laptop is a very usable experience and Intel has working prototypes which they’ve been using to conduct market research which is proving the concept.

Pushing the envelope of innovation that little bit further, Intel added a transparent palm rest on the keyboard area which acts as a touch interface with your fingers, or when closed allows you to see your notifications and tiles which are part of Windows 8’s base features – something Intel is calling NIKISKI.  This is another innovation that is showing how working on both new and exciting hardware, plus getting an operating system to suit is crucial for future success.

Whatever your feelings on tablets vs laptops and the potential ‘post-pc era’ you cannot escape ultrabook mania in 2012. Intel and the PC makers are going to be putting a lot of money behind the marketing efforts as the year rolls on.

I’ll get a hands on look at some ultrabook as CES continues.


The guys at THE VERGE have posted a quick video of the Nikiski