Tablets will be the death of the computer! Just ask the armchair pundits spouting their visions of PC doom over the Web on a daily basis. Here at Maximum PC, we're a little skeptical of that view – how do you shove a 12-inch long XFX Radeon HD 6990 into a tablet? – but the rise of mobile devices has made the future of laptops a little iffy. Intel, along with manufacturers like Asus, are fighting back with thin, powerful notebooks called Ultrabooks. Intel's not fooling around, either. Today, the company announced the creation of a $300 million Ultrabook fund.
The goal of the Intel Capital Ultrabook Fund is "to invest in companies building hardware and software technologies focused on enhancing how people interact with Ultrabooks such as through sensors and touch, achieving all day usage through longer battery life, enabling innovative physical designs and improved storage capacity." Basically, the fund's there to help companies that are making Ultrabooks leaner, meaner and better continue to make Ultrabooks leaner, meaner and better, inspiring further generations of Ultrabook improvements.
Intel's hoping to kick-start Ultrabook adoption not only with the influx of cash, but also by implementing a three-phase development plan for the products. The company's second generation Core processors have already spurred the creation of the ultra-thin Ultrabook, which should be on the shelves by year end. Next year's Ivy Bridge processors should bring, amongst other things, improved power efficiency and visual performance to the table. Expect to see the second generation Ultrabooks ship by summer 2012. The final step in Intel's plan lies with its 2013 "Haswell" lineup. Intel says Haswell products "are expected to reduce power consumption to half of the 'thermal design point' for today’s microprocessors."