MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas will be replete with new ultrabook models, with a show director predicting as many as 50 different types.
Speaking at CES Unveiled in London recently, the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) director of research Shawn DuBravac told press organizers were expecting to see between “30 to 50 new Ultrabooks launched at CES.”
The CEA also expects to see approximately 100 new tablets released at this year’s show, matching the number of new tablets which launched at last year’s CES. Many of the tablets due to be unveiled at CES 2012 include new Nvidia Corp. Tegra 3 --Kal-El-- five core offerings, as well as devices showcasing the Android Ice Cream Sandwich build, with some also running Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 8.
Intel Corp., the company behind the ultrabook concept, will be putting on a strong showing this coming January, with CEO, Paul Otellini, delivering a keynote speech at the conference, with many predicting the official release of the firm’s 22-nm Ivy Bridge platform.
Many ultrabook partners are thought to have held off production of the super-thin laptops until Ivy Bridge became available, meaning CES should be the ideal opportunity to show off new SKUs based on the platform.
Intel has also hinted at touchscreen-enabled ultrabooks, which would launch with Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system on an Ivy Bridge platform.
Starting with Windows 8, you [will] have a mainstream operating system incorporating touch,” Otellini said at Intel’s Capital Global Summit recently, with the CEO adding, “Our view is that in the ultrabook lines, touch is a pretty critical enabler. When users see that new Windows interface, they’re going to want to touch it. If the screen does nothing, you [will] have disappointed [the] consumer.”
Making the touchscreen technology affordable, in line with Intel’s aims for the ultabook platform, however, remains a challenge.
“We have to get touch to a lower cost. This is particularly important, as we move to the launch of Windows 8. The iPad and the iPhone have made touch a paradigm,” Otellini said, noting that Intel Capital’s $300 million ultrabook fund would go some way towards tackling the issue.
Analysts, too, are expecting a large focus on Microsoft’s upcoming operating system at CES.
“This will be the beginning of the Windows 8 coming out party,” said Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group.
“The product is expected to enter an accelerated Beta around the CES time frame and OEMs will likely begin showing new hardware but much of it will be under NDA and behind closed doors,” he said.
Enderle also believes CES will be a big showcase for the next wave of automotive entertainment products, thanks to Ford’s success with Sync and that Microsoft’s Kinect will see some interesting new applications by third party developers.
“I expect CES will be a showcase for a number of software and hardware offerings that take Kinect to places no one initially thought it could go,” said Enderle.
Meanwhile, smart TVs and E-Book readers are also predicted to make up a significant portion of CES’ exhibits this January.