Intel’s Developer Forum (AKA IDF 2012) in San Francisco has just wrapped up, and this year Intel used the conference as a platform to show off what will be hot in computing over the next 12 months.
On the show floor Intel was showing off all sorts of new form-factors, from a myriad of PC manufacturers. Hybrid PCs, (AKA Ultrabook Convertibles) with Windows 8 were a plenty, with several manufacturers having different spins on their Ultrabook and Ultrabook Convertible designs. Intel says that more than 40 Ultrabooks with touch are coming.
All of these new form-factors are taking the Ultrabook to the next level with a touchscreen display, and even a detachable display. Plus, thanks to Windows 8 these new mobile computing devices are ready to rock a beautiful and intuitive touch U.I. experience. On stage at one of their sessions, Intel showed off an Asus prototype convertible sporting a dual display. This device is still a few months away, but it’s a good representation of all of the creative new form-factors that we will be seeing from Intel and its OEM partners over the next couple of months.
At the show, Intel also announced the inclusion of built-in voice control in the Ultrabook, thanks to Dragon Assistant, and they showed off gesture control too. For now gesture control will be available via an add-on 3D camera from Creative, but the technology will eventually be embedded directly in Intel powered devices. Intel also introduced the Adaptive all-in-one, which is essentially a massive portable tablet that also doubles as an all in-one touchscreen desktop. The upcoming Sony Vaio Tap 20 will be one of the first PCs to rock this new form-factor. We can just imagine the inovative new apps that can come out for a device like this. An interactive board game designed for multiple players all using the same display all at once, or perhaps a massive art easel? There are so many creative possibilities to pursue in a form-factor like this one.
Intel is also pushing the limits with their low powered chips. With their upcoming Clover Trail powered systems, tablets and hybrid PCs will be able to do things that until now have been traditionally been reserved for more powerful, larger, and more expensive systems. As a matter of fact, the new Clover Trail CPU is powerful enough to handle the likes of motion tracking, video editing, graphically intensive games and 1080P video playback, while (hopefully) not sacrificing much in the way of battery life.
Intel also talked it up about their upcoming 4th generation of Ultrabooks which will be released next year. These future Ultrabooks will offer longer battery life and consume less power, they’ll also be thinner than ever. And for the first time ever, the next gen of Ultrabooks will offer multiple levels of graphics performance. Furthermore, they will be powerful enough to to support 4K resolution displays, and 3 displays at once.
If there is one thing we discovered at IDF 2012, it’s that the distinction between tablet and laptop, and even desktop, is all starting to blur. The biggest challenge however, as Gieneve Bell talks about in the video above, will be to bring together touch, voice and gesture control into a cohesive experience that feels natural to users.