We at Intel are very excited about both the existing (based on the 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ processors) and newly released Ultrabooks (based on the 3rdGeneration Intel® Core™ processors.) While this blog will be fairly high-level and introductory. Future blogs will progressively get into deeper information and cover topics that developers will need to know in order to get started developing as well as what they should be developing for as well as Best Known Methods (BKMs). If there is a topic that you, as a developer and a reader of this blog, want to know please make your suggestions in the comments area. Finally, included at the end of this blog is some resources that will be helpful to our developers.
There has been an astronomical rise in the use of mobile computing. We now expect to be constantly connected and to interact with our devices in many different ways. We want mobility without compromise; we want a fresh user experience and we want the technology to reflect our personality and style. The prevalence of smart phones has made us become accustomed to interacting with our devices via Touch and Voice commands. We also love App stores and the way we purchase software has changed dramatically over the past few years. All these factors have created the foundation of the inspiration for the creation of Ultrabooks.
What is an Ultrabook?
An Ultrabook is a new category of computing devices that will increasingly give us the most complete and satisfying, no-compromise and more secure computing experience in one, sleek and portable device. Ultrabooks have great battery life and offer mainstream price points. Ultrabook devices are expected to be as transformational to mobile computing as Intel® Centrino® Mobile technology was more than eight years ago.
Key requirements/specifications for an Ultrabook:
- Thin/light designs: Less than 0.8 inches in thickness; some current systems are much thinner.
- Ultra-fast start-up. Systems must wake from a very deep sleep state (hibernate) to full use (keyboard interaction) in less than 7 seconds and wake from “sleep” mode even faster.
- Extended battery life: Ultrabook devices offer at least 5 hours of battery life with many providing 8 hours or more, even in the sleekest form factors.
- Security enabled: Ultrabook systems come enabled with such security features as Intel® Identify Protection technology to provide a more secure online experience for activities like shopping, banking or gaming online. It uses chip-level authentication similar to hardware tokens and is widely regarded by security experts as a more secure approach than software-only authentication. It also comes with Intel Anti-Theft technology to deter theft. If a laptop is stolen it can be disabled automatically, or the service provider can be notified to disable the system. If found, the provider can re-enable the system.
- Processor: Powered by 2nd and 3rd Generation Intel Core Processor Family for Ultrabook.
- As of Q1 2012, there are already at least 16 systems in the market from a number of manufacturers (availability varies by manufacturer), including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Samsung and Toshiba. Initial Ultrabook devices are in the market now in ultra-sleek and ultra-responsive designs, with more than 75 designs available or in development for 2012.
- 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processors (codenamed “Ivy Bridge”), Intel’s next generation chip, is scheduled for availability (soon!) in systems in the spring of 2012. Ultrabook systems based on this new family of processors will bring improved power efficiency, smart visual performance, increased responsiveness and enhanced security. Complimentary USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt™ technologies are also part of Intel’s ongoing work to drive the PC platform forward.
- “Haswell” is the third step toward accelerating the category of Ultrabook devices. With “Haswell,” Intel will change the mainstream laptop thermal design point by reducing microprocessor power to 10-20 watts – half of what is available today.
How Important is “Touch”?
- The ability to use Touch in addition to keyboard and mouse will be a crucial attribute of Ultrabooks starting with 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processors. From ATMs to tablets, from phones to public smart display kiosks, there is simply a growing expectation that the screens that we use every day will respond to our touch. The Ultrabook clamshell will not be an exception, and research confirms that when combined with a touch-oriented user interface people find it natural, easy and desirable to touch the screen of their device.
What other features will developers need to start including into their software?
- Ultrabooks will come equipped with compasses, accelerometers, gyroscopes, GPS, and ambient light sensors.
What Technologies will the Ultrabooks have?
- Intel® Rapid Start Technology returns the Ultrabook™ to full operational power within seconds. This ultra-responsive capability gives the device the power to resume in a flash, and ultra-low power consumption when on standby.
- Intel® Smart Response Technology quickly recognizes and stores the most frequently used files and applications where they can accessed right away.
- Intel® Smart Connect Technology keeps email, favorite apps, and social networks continually and automatically updated even when the system is asleep. (Available on select systems.)
- Intel® Anti-Theft Technology (Intel® AT) is smart security hardware that helps protect data by disabling a lost or stolen Ultrabook™ from anywhere in the world. When the Ultrabook™ is returned, it can be easily reactivated without harm to any data or digital content. (Available as an option on designated Intel® Core™ processor-based Ultrabook™ devices.)
- Intel® Identity Protection Technology (Intel® IPT) helps protect our identity and assets online by adding a trusted link to the system, the accounts, and the favorite online places. (Available on select systems.)
The key takeaway for developers is that Ultrabooks will continue to bring big changes in computing. Consumers will have the expectation that whatever their smart phones can do, so should their Ultrabooks. I hope this introduction was helpful and I hope you stay tuned for my next blogs on “Developing for Ultrabooks.”
Here are some good resources from the Microsoft website for developing sensor-enabled apps:
- Microsoft Dev Center
- Introducing the Windows Sensor and Location Platform
- Sensor API Programming Guide
- Integrating Motion and Orientation Sensors
- Sensor & Location Platform Team Blog
Also, here are some more blogs/articles that may be useful regarding Ultrabooks and Windows 8:
- Getting Started with Windows 8 Development
- Develop location-aware, Metro style apps when your development system doesn't have GPS
- Detecting Ultrabook Sensors on Windows 8
- Ultrabook and Tablet Windows 8 Sensors Development Guide
- Intro to Windows 8 Touch on Ultrabook: Part 1, Getting started
- Intro to Windows 8 Touch on Ultrabook: Part 2, Touch Messages from the Windows 7 interface