Intel Corp. is touting a hybrid laptop 0.8 inches (20 mm) thick with sleek tablet computing features and ultra-sharp visual images that it hopes will create a market bridging traditional PCs and tablet computing.
The laptop also represents what the U.S. technology giant promises its new generation of processors will be able to deliver by 2012, when they power new devices produced by companies like Taiwan's AsusTek Computer Inc.
"Computing is taking many forms," Intel executive vice president Sean Maloney said Tuesday at the opening of Taipei's Computex, the world's second-largest computing show.
He said that by the end of 2012, Intel aims to shift 40 percent of consumer laptops to its "Ultrabook" model, a new category of thin and light mobile computers.
Like many other tech companies, Intel is under immense pressure from Apple Inc., whose iPhones and iPads have swept through global markets with the force of a hurricane and show no signs of slowing down.
Maloney described the Ultrabook as a laptop-tablet hybrid, featuring touch screens and instant log on, all with a price tag of less than $1,000.
The projected thickness of the new Intel-powered device would make it the sleekest laptop in the marketplace after Apple's MacBook Air 15" model, which ranges from .11 to .68 inches.
The devices will be based on Intel's "Ivy Bridge," a new generation of chips made with 22 nanometer manufacturing technology and the 3-D transistor the company unveiled early in May. It is slated to be on the market by 2012, Intel said.
The new transistor, with increased density, will make more powerful computing devices, it said.
Also by 2012, a new Intel chip designed for tablets and smartphones, named "Medfield," will be launched. It will give the mobile devices longer use-time, advanced imaging and more power efficiency, the company said.
Intel general manager for the Asia-Pacific region Navin Shenoy acknowledged the market is experiencing significant changes with "the explosion of smartphones and tablets."
"The industry is in constant change," he said. "We're more and more like the fashion industry. Nothing sticks forever."
"We win when we go after and create new markets," he said.
AsusTek is among the Taiwanese computer makers which have pledged to collaborate with Intel.
With the advent of tablets, "the whole industry is reshuffling, including the microprocessors and including operating systems," said AsusTek Chairman Jonney Shih.
"The boundaries between notebooks, tablets and smartphones are blurring," he told a news conference Monday. Laptops "have to evolve quickly to respond" and become "ultra-thin, ultra-light and ultra-responsive."
Also at Computex, Google Inc. pushed its Chromebook notebook, which is based on its web-browsing oriented Chrome operating system - an up and coming rival in a field long dominated by Microsoft Corp.
Google is partnering with Intel and has engaged South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. and Taiwan's Acer Inc. to produce the Chromebooks, set to go on sale in June.
Google's Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai said the company has set up a center in Taipei to try to bring more manufacturing partners onboard, but declined to give specifics on his expectations for Chromebook's market share.
"Today my only goal is to make sure we deliver Chromebooks and make customers happy," he said. "That's the only criteria. Focus on quality of experience for consumers rather than quantity."
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