Intel to Bring Touch, Voice Recognition, and Gesture to Ultrabooks

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Intel wasn't just touting the power of Ivy Bridge and Direct X11 in its Ultrabooks this morning. There was plenty of talk about what's ahead. Ivy Bridge will support NFC mobile payments, for one, and Mooly Eden also hinted that the new chipset will bring about even thinner machines. There was also talk about lowering Ultrabooks' price point south of the $999 mark, and word that 75-plus Ultrabooks are currently in the pipeline. And bigger screens are also on the horizon: The majority of upcoming Ultrabooks will have either 14- or 15-inch screens.

But the key word for Intel's future was touch. Mooly Eden demoed touchscreen displays on Windows 7 and Windows 8 notebooks, offering the same sort of user interaction found on your average smartphone or tablet. There was also a convertible notebook on hand, which slides into tablet mode for a more consolidated form factor.

Apart from demoing on these prototypes, touch support was shown on a concept called the Nikiski (shown above). The Nikiski is a clamshell laptop with a space cut out so users can use the touchpad even when the notebook's lid is closed. There's also a see-through touch display for quick access to the Windows 8 interface without needing to open the notebook.

In addition to touch support, Intel showed off gesture recognition on an Ultrabook, with the laptop recognizing a user's hand movements and letting him play a slingshot game without touching the keyboard or trackpad.

Aside from the move to touch and gesture control, Intel's pushing voice recognition, with Nuance Natural Speaking software coming to Ultrabooks in the next year (with support for nine languages).

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