I met with Cyberlink at IDF2012 and had a great demo and hands-on with their new media suite. In fact, there’s something about the video editor that makes me want to get a Core-based tablet right way for my trade-show videos. It’s really fast, easy and mobile.
One of the aims of attending the Intel Developer Forum last week for me was to find out as much as possible about 2013, Haswell and what it means for Ultrabooks. I’m sure there’s more detail to come soon (and possibly, a new roadmap) but I came away with a lot of useful information that I’ve summarized below. What is clear is that Haswell is more about mobility than any other Core CPU to date. It will extend down into tablet territory enabling detachable screens and new form factors. There will be a huge focus on active standby; the claimed 20x lower idle power should equate to multi-day ‘active’ idle. A ‘dual slice’ GPU will feature in Ultrabooks
I really liked the look of the HP Env X2 I tested at IDF 2012. The size and weight proportions are more conducive to mobile operations than some of the Core-based solutions and in addition, there’s a battery life advantage to be had over Core but it’s not quite up to replacing a desktop for most people so there’s a big trade-off. The ASUS Vivo Tab is the same, but looks even better!
I got hands-on at IDF and you can see that in the video below. I walked away very impressed and definitely interested in testing it further, especially as I’m a huge fan of ultra-mobile solutions.
Congratulations to Firaxis Games who are about to release a touch-enabled version of Civ V. I got a few fingers on at IDF2012 and put together a video demo for you.
This Ivy-Bridge optimised version will be available to everyone as an update in Steam in Q4 and it works well. Firaxis have worked around the issue of hover/tooltips b implementing scrolling using a two-finger gesture. It’s not natural at first but to be able to get the tooltips easily is welcome.
At IDF this week, Intel showed off a demo of Nuance’s Dragon Assist software running on an Ultrabook. Dragon Assist, currently in beta, is a Siri-like approach to PC voice control. Using natural words and phrases you can ask the computer to do a number of tasks. The demo that Intel showed on stage was quite impressive — it was fast, accurate, and potentially quite useful. But would you use it?
Chippy is checking out Ultrabooks at IDF this week and he had a chance to get his hands on the NEC Lavie Z Ultrabook. What makes this unit stand out is its incredible weight. This is a 13.3″ screen; at just 876 grams, the Lavie Z is the world’s lightest Ultrabook in it’s class, even lighter than many of the Ultrabooks in the size class below it. For example. the Asus UX21A with an 11.6″ screen is about 1100 grams.
We’ve just had the inside information on the WiGig docking standards that are going through draft approval right now. Expected to be fully approved by end of 2013, the formal line on product availability is that you’ll see devices in 2014 but we spoke to one parts vendor that tells us we’ll see a WiGig-enabled Ultrabook at CES 2013 and that you’ll see products based on draft standards in Q1 2013. We’re believers that Ultrabooks can replace desktops for most people through on the with the use of docking solutions but when it’s wireless, it’s much better!
The Dell XPS 12 Convertible Duo is an impressive looking Ultrabook. People here at IDF are flocking to it to check out the unique flip screen. The design works well but like all convertible designs that retain the keyboard, can’t give you a lightweight tablet. A 1.4KG tablet isn’t very mobile but it does offer something for those that primarily want a touchscreen Ultrabook with occasional tablet-style capabilities. This could be a good one as an ice-breaker for business meetings though!
I’ve had a chance to go hands-on with the slick looking Acer Aspire S7. Everyone loves the looks, the screen, the weight but I question the battery life. A sub 40Wh battery means 4hr average battery life. It’s mobile and fun, but the Acer Aspire S7 might be sacrificing too much battery life for the thin aesthetic. Video demo below.
HD 3000 in Intel’s second generation Core ‘Sandy Bridge’ processor was a pretty big step forward for integrated graphics — it adds significant gaming capabilities to thin, light, and efficient Ultrabooks, without the need for discrete graphics. HD 4000, introduced with the third and current-gen Core ‘Ivy Bridge’ processor took things one step further by doubling the performance over Sandy Bridge. With the fourth and next-gen Core ‘Haswell’ processor, slated to launch in Ultrabooks and other systems in 2013, Intel is once again doubling performance over the previous generation.