Even as the market for super compact notebooks, or Ultrabooks, is a work in progress; sources in the supply chain have a fair idea of what's in store with third-generation Ultrabooks, based around Intel's next CPU micro-architecture, codenamed "Haswell." The Ultrabook appears to be going the smartphone way on multiple fronts.
Even as the market for super compact notebooks, or Ultrabooks, is a work in progress; sources in the supply chain have a fair idea of what's in store with third-generation Ultrabooks, based around Intel's next CPU micro-architecture, codenamed "Haswell." The Ultrabook appears to be going the smartphone way, on multiple fronts.
To begin with, it's no revelation that the third generation of Ultrabooks, super-compact notebooks whose basic specifications are governed by Intel, will be based on its next-generation CPU architecture, codenamed "Haswell." The new processors will be built on existing 22 nm silicon fabrication processes, but will pack architectural changes that will yield higher performance, and faster graphics.
According to sources closely associated with companies that contract-manufacture Ultrabooks (ODMs), third generation Ultrabook will pack better displays, better display capabilities, improved chassis design, and a suite of new sensors that add new user-interface elements.
There is talk of displays with stereo 3D and HD resolutions. 1920 x 1080 pixels seems like a plausible resolution standard candidate, as today's Ultrabooks already do 720p. Display panel makers achieved extremely high pixel densities with displays of certain high-end smartphones and tablets, and it's expected that these could make their way into Ultrabooks, without impacting costs significantly. Further, standardizing multi-touch displays is on the cards, even for Ultrabooks in the conventional "clam-shell" form-factor.
Next up, there's talk of giving the Ultrabook a suite of sensors, that gel with the user interface of Windows 8. Facial recognition and gesture recognition, integrated with the operating system, seem high on the cards. Other sensors could include those which are common with today's portable computing devices, such as accelerometer and digital compass.
With Apple seeking to patent the "wedge" shape chassis design of its MacBook Air, Ultrabook ecosystem partners seem to be looking up to Intel for solutions that could save them future trouble with the Cupertino, California-based company. This could mean that Intel could come up with [patent] troll-proof designs that partners could build on. The chassis design could implement two standardizations: the first being a new durable hinge (that joint between the two halves of the notebook), and the second being chassis materials. Intel recently announced a breakthrough in design that allows chassis made of plastic to have durability comparable to those made with aluminum, which could result in reduced manufacturing costs (once the technology has proliferated enough, and good volumes are reached). Third generation Ultrabook could see this chassis become standard.
Lastly, Intel could mandate the use of solid-state drives (SSDs) as storage devices, and quite some R&D could be carried out for coming up with a newer battery standard.
In conclusion, notebook manufacturers will find Intel babysitting the Ultrabook specification looking deep into 2013, as well. The improved display, sensors, and chassis design sure are things to look forward to.
With inputs from DigiTimes.