Intel promises touch screen Ultrabooks for 2012

Intel has promised that its Ultrabooks will have touch screens next year and will make pure tablets even more redundant than they actually are.

Intel’s chief executive officer Paul Otellini has announced that next year ultra-thin laptops, which Intel calls Ultrabooks, will have touch-screens and will thus be able to act like tablets.

However, he has admitted that before such products emerge, Intel will have to overcome a number of technical problems.

Otellini said that touch screens were always going to be the critical enabler for Ultrabooks. When users see the new Windows interface, they are going to want to touch it. If the screen does nothing, you have disappointed the punter, Otellini said.

Talking to the Intel Capital global summit, he said that there are a number of things that prevent touchscreen-based devices becoming widespread: one is the manufacturing cost, another is heat produced by components of electronic devices.

Getting the cost of touch-screens down is something Intel intends to take care of next year.

Part of the problem is that notebook makers already have to use very thin display panels that are on the pricey side and touch screens are going to be even worse.

Otellini said that in order for Intel to have an excited Ultrabook consumer at $699 and $799 price points, you have to be able to accelerate the reduction in touch cost. He said that Intel will be investing to make that happen.

As notebook makers learn how to produce Ultrabooks efficiently, they will certainly find ways to create convertibles and hybrids with touch-screens. But it is a little optimistic for Intel to expect this to happen by 2012 unless it has a rabbit in its hat that no one has found out about.