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Intel coins 'ultrabook' concept, shows Android 3 on Medfield

updated 12:05 am EDT, Tue May 31, 2011

Intel ultrabook idea based on MacBook Air concept

Intel's Sean Maloney opened Computex in earnest with a keynote hoping to redefine the ultraportable notebook class. Now calling them "ultrabooks," Intel saw them as systems that were under 0.8 inches thick but could still start under $1,000. The category included systems like the ASUS UX21 and, by extension, the MacBook Air.

The company saw a broader shift in the industry that would move as many as 40 percent of notebooks over to the ultrabook category by the end of 2012. Existing systems could fit into the category, but the next wave would include Ivy Bridge systems that would refine the experience further with the smaller 22 nanometer manufacturing process and improved speed, including both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 support. A much larger shift might happen with Haswell, a 2013 platform that could cut everyday notebook processor power consumption in half.

Intel's Medfield platform for phones and tablets also got an improved public airing. The 32nm chip was show running Android 3 for the first time and was expected to be the first Intel processor to be capable of genuine, iPad-class dimensions. A device could be under 9mm thick and still weigh less than 1.5 pounds, the chip designer said. Medfield hardware should arrive sometime in the first half of 2012.

Some of the Taipei presentation touched on recent unveilings, including a stepped-up Atom roadmap that would get the category to 14nm Atom chips in three years. In the nearer term, Cedar Trail was mentioned again and would bring both WiDi video streaming as well as PC Synch to share information across multiple devices.

The plans for ultrabooks are expected to play into Apple's hands. The system builder had already described the Air as the "future of MacBooks" and has made clear its intent to move to flash storage, long-lived batteries and very thin designs. It's unclear how much of the ultrabook concept was directly influenced by the Mac, although Intel recently commented that Apple influences its roadmap and may have pushed for more efficient designs.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969




    - A

  1. gprovida

    Joined: Dec 1969


    3-4 years Late and maybe too Late - Apple may rais

    From Wikipedia, "... The first MacBook Air was a 13.3" model, promoted as the 'World's Thinnest Notebook', that was introduced at the Macworld Conference & Expo on January 15, 2008. ..." So lets see, Jan 2008 - Sep 2011 is nearly 4 years!!

    I recall the nasty words about cost, lack of ports, no CD, no removable battery [ipod, iphone, ipad anyone?] .... that plastered the media. Now its the target everyone is chasing, but will be cheaper, not a lot cheaper though. Ironically, Steve Job's and Apple do not leave a lot of cost shelter to give equivalent performance and quality. This has been observed on iPhones and iPads, but really missed on Macbooks and iMacs. Its hard to deliver what Apple does at a significantly cheaper cost and then at paper thin margins, Apple's are generally 25-35%!

    I wonder if Apple after 4 years [2012] will once again go to the next level and leave the PC industry and its bloggers/pundits chasing a 3-4 year approach and complaining about what the next design innovation doesn't have?

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The Macbook Air

    is a premium "Netbook"

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    @gprovida, you got that right...

    Most of the industry really doesn't understand what consumers are looking for. The first MacBook Airs were just seen as expensive netbooks by pundits, even though they were much more than that. A MacBook Air just couldn't have the pricing structure of a netbook because it wasn't a netbook and it wasn't made of netbook parts. Apple was really ahead of the curve at that time and consumers came to realize they liked the form factor even if they had to give up a few things. I guess I'm just understanding that compromises have to be made. A company honestly can't put everything in a superlight or superthin device and that's all there is to it. Just give up what you mostly don't need and provide the best on the remainder of the device. Don't compromise on quality.

    Now the industry is going to claim they're leapfrogging Apple by generations when all their really doing is copying what Apple has already done but using components that are specifically tailored for those type of devices because they're available now. Apple had to fish around in processor parts bins to put together the MacBook Air with the older C2D processors that matched Apple's performance requirements as closely as possible.

  1. chippie

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I Agree 100% with wrenchy

    The Macbook Air is a premium "Netbook". Also whilst apple has had a year in the sunshine with the ipad it completely missed the 2 year netbook party which saw 60 million units sold!

  1. nat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    and wrenchy sitting in a tree...

    thanks for sharing boys. now, move along.

  1. chippie

    Joined: Dec 1969


    @DiabloConQueso-And you Also Don't Hear Any

    corporations complaining that they are missing out on the tablet party! So, is the point you are trying to make is that nothing means nothing?

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