The Ultrabook road map
In 2012, Intel will ship versions of its next-generation Ivy Bridge processors for notebooks using its recently announced 22nm process technology with tri-gate transistors. The 3-D transistors will provide significant Mips/Watt gains and sport new chip- or system-level features Intel has promised, but not yet disclosed.
By the end of 2012, as many as 40 percent of shipping consumer portable PCs will be Ultrabooks, Intel predicts.
A third step toward Ultrabooks will come in 2013 when Intel ships Haswell, a second-generation of 22nm chips using a new microarchitecture. With Haswell, Intel will shift its notebook design point from the current 30-40W operating target range down to about 10-20W.
Intel announced the road map change at its recent analyst conference, but did not specifically tie it to the Haswell designs. It day say the design shift will be as significant as the first Pentium or the low power Banias design used in its Centrino notebook platform.
Ultrabooks are designed for Microsoft Windows and Apple's MacOS. Intel is not actively working on running Google's Android on the systems. "We'll look at Android if our customers ask for it," said Erik Reid, general manager of mobile client platforms at Intel.
"We believe the changes Intel is making to its roadmaps, together with strong industry collaboration, will bring about an exciting change in personal computing over the next few years," said Sean Maloney, Intel's new general manager for China.
Maloney is introducing the Ultrabook concept in a keynote at Computex, his first public address since he suffered a stroke in 2010. He will also make the case that USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt, both emerging in PCs now, are complementary I/O technologies.
Also at Computex, Intel will show smartphone and tablet reference designs for its 32nm Medfield, a single-chip Atom-based SoC. The smartphone will run the Gingerbread version of Android and the tablet will run the Honeycomb version, still being ported to the x86.
So far, Intel has also failed to gain any tier-one design wins for Medfield. It focused most of its attention on Nokia, but the company's new chief executive dropped Medfield to embrace Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.
Intel also will show at Computex as many as ten tablet designs using Oak Trail (Z670), a two-chip Atom platform using 45nm technology. It will also talk about Cedar Trail, its next Atom-based platform for netbooks, a concept that surged then quickly peaked in the market after the Apple iPad was introduced.