In the second day keynote speech at IDF, Intel VP Mooly Eden pinned the future of the PC industry on the ultrabook form factor, calling the thin and light devices a “fundamental transformation of personal computing”.
The speech hammered home the combination of portability and power that manufacturers hope will make the ultrabook successful against the encroaches of the tablet, with much being made of the so-called media consumption vs media creation split. Intel’s marketing push for the ultrabook seems to revolve around the central concept that the ultrabook allows for greater ease in the creation of content, differentiating it from the tablet.
While much of Eden’s speech was old information to anyone who’s followed the sudden explosion of the ultrabook in the international news, there were a few interesting annoucements.
Firstly, Intel has been working with McAfee to create a data protection service that’s tailored for the ultrabook. McAfee’s Executive VP Todd Gerbhart stated that 12,000 portable devices are left in airports each week, before revealing the joint production of Intel Anti-Theft, a service that Eden refered to as a “suicide pill” for the ultrabook, allowing users to remotely wipe all data in case of theft. This is of course extremely similar to the large number of similar services for mobile phones that are available.
Eden also showed off the first engineering samples of ultrabooks running on next year's Ivy Bridge architecture, giving greater power management and performance, along with improved graphics performance. Consumer devices are expected to be available in the first half of 2012.
A new technology for connecting laptop screens was also shown off, based on DisplayPort and designed to replace the LVDS standard currently used. The EDP 1.3 panel limits screen refreshes when the CPU is idle, instead storing the desktop image on the monitor itself. This is estimated to save around 500 mW of power, translating roughly into an additional 45-60minutes of battery life in the day.
Finally, Eden unveiled a functioning Haswell 22nm processor, which is the next planned architectural leap (in Intel parlance the next 'Toc') after the shift to the 22nm process with Ivy Bridge (the next 'Tic'). He finished up by stating that Haswell ultrabooks would be available in 2013, signalling what he rather mysteriously described as the “completion of the ultrabook revolution”.
In a later session he clarified this to mean the "first revolution" in terms of reaching the end of the capacity of the form factor.
Nic Healey is in San Francisco as a guest of Intel