Intel and partners hope innovative features will help PCs stay competitive with tablets and smartphones.
10 Windows Ultrabooks: Not Just For SMBs
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Intel plans to integrate voice-based search technology into its ultrabook platform starting later this year, after the arrival of Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system, a company executive said.
Intel Architecture Group general manager David Perlmutter said the company has partnered with speech-recognition specialist Nuance to add Nuance's Dragon Assistant technology to ultrabooks. Paired with Windows 8 touch capabilities, the technology could lead to systems that rival the sort of interactivity normally found on tablets and smartphones.
The systems will put to rest the notion that "touch is the end of innovation--this is just the beginning," said Perlmutter, during a keynote presentation at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.
During a demonstration, an Intel employee asked a Dell XPS ultrabook that had been equipped with the technology to perform a Web search, find sunglasses on Amazon, and play music. The system was also asked to tweet the results of the Amazon search. "What would you like to say about this link?" it asked in a softly mechanical, feminine voice.
Contrasting the technology with services such as Apple's Siri and Google Voice, Perlmutter noted that voice-recognition software "is running native on the platform. This is not a cloud service; this requires the high-performing CPU and the applications inside."
Intel released the ultrabook specification with an eye toward giving laptop makers a reference design for systems that could compete with rivals such as the MacBook Air. Ultrabooks with screens larger than 14 inches must be no more than 21 mm thick, while those under 14 inches must be no more than 18 mm thick.
They also must run late-generation Intel chips such as the Ivy Bridge Core i3, i5, or i7.
Perlmutter also showed off Intel's forthcoming Haswell architecture, which is due out sometime next year. The platform will use 20 times less power in connected standby--a Windows 8 feature that allows systems to remain connected to services such as Wi-Fi while asleep--than current Intel chips.
Haswell also will double graphics performance at comparable power levels. It "is designed with mobility in mind," said Perlmutter.
The demonstrations showed Intel's recognition that the PC industry needs to find new ways to innovate if it's to keep up with mobile platforms like tablets and smartphones. Last week, Intel lowered its revenue forecast for the third quarter, from the previous estimate of between $13.8 and $14.8 billion, to between $12.7 billion and $13.5 billion.
The company blamed "weaker than expected demand."
Download the debut issue of InformationWeek's Must Reads, a compendium of our best recent coverage on enterprise mobility in our new easy-to-read and -navigate Web format. Included in this issue of Must Reads: 6 keys to a flexible mobile device management strategy; why you need an enterprise app store; and Google points to the future of mobile. (Free registration required.)
Server Market SplitsvilleJust because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.