The future of ultrabooks is here – and they’re all touch enabled


When we arrived at Intel’s office earlier today to have a quick conference call with Intel’s Director, Product Management Pricing in APAC Leighton Phillips, we noticed that the conference room of Intel’s local office had a collection of touch-enabled ultrabooks (and one very large tablet, which turned out to be Sony’s Tap 20). Ultrabooks like Lenovo’s ThinkPad Twist S230U was present, as well as Sony’s Duo 11.

This doesn’t surprise Leighton at all, as he says that consumer research has always indicated that people prefer touch to other methods of interaction. “We’ve been doing a lot of consumer research trying to understand the response to touch as it relates to an ultrabook. More specifically, we’ve done research where we put people in front of non-touch touch-based devices and we’ve found that people reach for touch enabled devices first.” This makes sense, and explains the popularity of touch-enabled smartphones and tablets.

This little tidbit put into context Intel’s current predilection for touch devices. Intel knows that Touch is the future of notebooks, not just ultrabooks, and is investing heavily in factories and companies that can help them deliver the optimal touch experience. Intel isn’t the only one who has noticed the correlation between touch interface and a better overall experience, either – Leighton says that more and more partners are designing touch-enabled notebooks – not just ultrabooks – that are set to come out in the next few months.

The move to touch isn’t just going to manifest in ultrabooks either. “We’re seeing this trend spill over to mainstream value devices, thin designs, and is obviously part of any convertible design and is part of any tower-based design.” This means as the bill of manufacture – the upfront cost of making a device – goes down, touchscreens will begin to pop up in value driven devices as well, which includes lower tier notebooks and All-in-ones.

As we pawed the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist S230U during the conference call, we couldn’t help but agree with Leighton when it comes to touch on notebooks. The highly responsive screen and hybrid design meant that it was a pleasure to navigate, even without the use of a mouse. To be honest, we felt that you could probably chuck your mouse out the window once you get a touch-enabled Windows 8 ultrabook, as the touch-enabled screen could do everything a conventional mouse could, with better speed and accuracy.

Intel says that designs like the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist S230U and the Sony Duos 11 is the future of ultrabooks, and the future of computing. As we finished the conference call and proceeded to file out, we couldn’t help but agree.