Intel’s Vision for the Future

This time, thin is really thin: According to web reports from a meeting at Intel’s headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., executives were
talking about a standard 0.7-inch thickness (about 18 millimeters) for laptops, not to mention dropping hints about future 8 millimeter thick tablets and smartphones.

Thin is really in: Intel executives discuss the new “extreme ultrathin” strategy and was described in an interesting way. To paraphrase, the original CULV thing didn’t fly. (For those not familiar with Intel jargon, that means consumer ultra-low voltage. Intel’s attempt, a couple of years ago, to push ultrathin laptops into the mainstream.)

There will be plenty of power-efficient–but still very fast, mind you–silicon to populate those 0.7-inch-thin (and thinner) laptops that turn on and connect instantly. How important is all of this to Intel? According to what I have read, “This is a once in a decade kind of change,” – a quote by Dadi Perlmutter, an executive VP at Intel, when referring to this overall push into power-efficient, always-on, always-connected computing.

And in case investors needed more convincing, at one of the informal events, Intel was showing off about a dozen tablets, a few already on the market but most due to ship in the coming months.

And, at the same event, Intel was showing the ultrathin (0.64 inches) Samsung Series 9 13.3-inch model and demonstrating how future Intel technology will allow the PC to instantly pop out of hibernation mode–which currently is anything but instant, often taking about 20 or 30 seconds (or more). In other words, what is known currently as standby mode will become, in effect, instant-on hibernation. All in an effort to extend battery life while providing instant responsiveness and instant connectivity.

Which brings us to the tablet…I mean…iPad. If PC vendors actually execute on Intel’s vision, that could blunt the appeal of the iPad for some consumers. And even trump the iPad, dare I say, for some consumers. Imagine in-the-not-too-distant-future, a 2-pound, 0.6-inch thick laptop packing next-generation Intel Ivy Bridge processors with integrated 4G and a 256GB solid-state drive for about $1,000. And this design could be operating system agnostic: Windows 7 (or Windows 8), Google Chrome OS, or a future MacBook Air running Apple’s OS.


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