Intel Developer Forum 2011 Day 2: Ultrabook Deep Dive
The second day of the Intel Developer Forum 2011 was given over entirely to a deep dive on the Ultrabook strategy, with Intel VP and GM of the PC Client Group Mooly Eden taking the stage to give attendees a closer look at concepts teased the day before. Microsoft even stopped by with a brief update on how existing applications can play nicely in the new Windows 8 playground.
The crux of Eden’s presentation was the concept that the Ultrabook is the right model at the right time. Ultrabooks, he said, combine the best of the tablet — media consumption — with the best of the legacy approach — media production. And the Sandy Bridge (and soon, Ivy Bridge) processor at the core of the Ultrabook, is fast enough to meet all of those everyday needs. The phrase that stuck out to me as probably the most representative of Intel’s overall vision was “mobility without compromise.”
And speaking of Ivy Bridge, Eden took some time out to hype Intel’s next mass-market processor. The new chip has been rearchitected for maximum efficiency and power savings, but it’s still pin-to-pin compatible with the current-gen Sandy Bridge — pop out the old chip, put in the new one, and you’re in business.
Eden then broke out into a discussion of some of the software support that’s going to make the Ultrabook better, faster and stronger: the headlining feature was Intel Rapid Start, which woke a demo machine from hibernate (not sleep, to be absolutely clear) in approximately three seconds.
Eden also demonstrated Intel Smart Connect, which enables applications to continue grabbing data from the network while it’s asleep, so, for example, your e-mail inbox is already refreshed when you wake it back up. That demo garnered a round of applause from the audience.
Intel is also making sure to get a bang for its buck with the McAfee acquisition; Eden invited Co-President Todd Cebhart on stage to go over the security provider’s contributions to the Ultrabook project, beginning in 2012.
Specifically, McAfee is providing a “suicide pill” for Ultrabooks as an anti-theft deterrent. If your machine is stolen, owners can log on, track its location and remotely turn it into a superthin, ultralight paperweight. It sounds remarkably similar to Apple’s efforts in the area of laptop theft prevention, which are coming with the iCloud launch later this year.
And on the subject of security, Intel also demonstrated Identity Protection, a web security solution it’s offering to financial institutions and similar verticals, in which users are required to securely authenticate each machine they use by way of a cell phone-delivered access code before logging on to sensitive sites.
The second part of that offering is an encrypted PIN pad that requires users to click numbers and key in their code. In short, a keylogger or other traditional vectors of online identity theft won’t work. Intel is promising at least one major customer announcement around the solution soon.
After that, it went into what felt like a lightning round: Microsoft made an appearance to show off a shortened version of the Windows BUILD demo and show how Intel-based x86 legacy applications still have a place in the bold new tablet-friendly world of Windows 8. It’s good to see Microsoft isn’t harboring any grudges against Intel.
That was quickly followed up on with a brief demonstration of Thunderbolt, the high-bandwidth, low-profile device connection standard Intel developed but is only now starting to build into its mobile offerings. Eden also showed off the first wave of Ivy Bridge-powered Ultrabook models from OEMs and ODPs including Toshiba, Acer and Asus.
Also on display was, well, a new display. Intel has developed a new power-saving laptop display standard, code-named Shuriken Technology, that saves power and minimizes footprint by keeping the screen from refreshing when the screen is static, with no CPU intervention. The first wave of Ultrabook screens leveraging Shuriken will be delivered by LG Display.
Finally, and briefly, Eden showed off a working prototype of Haswell, the next-next-generation of Intel chips hitting the market in 2013. Intel claims Haswell cuts power consumption by as much as 20 times, bringing a potential 10 days of connected standby time.
And that, as they say, is that. Stay tuned to The VAR Guy for more insights and updates from the Intel Developer Forum 2011 – especially as we continue to hunt for channel perspectives.