Intel's Idea of the Next Ultrabooks: Touch Screen, Voice Recognition and Motion Sensing Technology

Asus' current Ultrabook. Image via Wiki Commons
Intel's shared it's vision for the future of Ultrabooks. They plan to include touch screens, voice recognition with Dragon's software and they plan to include Xbox360's [Kinect](,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&biw=1694&bih=954&ion=1&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=hZMLT4roIIb30gG9x6mEBg)-like motion gesture recognition. You can read the full report and images [here]( via Ars Technica. Below are some thoughts on the new features.

Touch Screen on a laptop?

Why would someone want to us a touch screen on a laptop? This was my initial thoughts before. I've tried using an Asus Transformer tablet (tablet with a removable keyboard) and got a slight idea on how touch screens will be for laptops.

For me, it won't be useful for everything. Windows 7 (and previous versions) wasn't exactly built with touch interface in mind. It would probably be hard to use for programs like Ms Office but it will be useful for entertainment type of applications. If an "app" is designed with touch in mind then obviously it will be great to use. When Windows 8 is released, it will feature more apps that are more friendly to touch screens. By that time, laptops with touch screens would be perfect. You can get the best of both worlds. I won't like it for precision programs like Photoshop but it'll be enjoyable for games or a music player.

Voice Recognition ala Siri

Dragon software created by Nuance is a speech recognition program for the desktop. As far as I know, the main difference with Dragon and Apple's Siri is that Dragon doesn't talk back and it's does not perform actions/commands. (I could be wrong, I haven't done my full homework on Dragon. Correct me if I am wrong). Anyway, what Intel plans for Ultrabooks is to have it interactive ala Siri. (To have voice commands be more human-like).

I don't know about this one. Voice recognition is definitively awesome but I'm not sure if I would use it a lot. I haven't tried Siri but I have tried voice commands on Android. I would understand it's use on phones for situations like driving or needing to quickly access certain information. If I'm in a desktop environment, I would probably have my browser open so I could just type my queries. If I'm somewhere with my laptop then I think it would be awkward for me to "speak" to my laptop in public. I'll have to see later in the future if my perspective changes but for now, I'm not sold on the usefulness of this feature.

Motion/Gesture Recognition

I've tried Kinect a few times and I have to say that the technology behind it is impressive. It gives a unique twist to games. Also with Kinect being hacked to run on Windows, hackers have created stuff like light-saber tests, Minority Report like controls and other unique experiments. The technology behind it could be useful for a lot things. For example, if you had the laptop on sleep mode (with the case open let's say) then when it detects that you are near, it will resume your session. Another interesting scenario: You plug your computer to your TV, then you can "swipe" to view your photos on your TV (I want this now.). Oh and also games (see above).

Final Thoughts

These are all nifty features to have and I hope they would be implemented in the next line of Ultrabooks. I also hope Ultrabooks can reach around or below $800 (35,000 pesos w/o tax) so that a lot of people can interact with these cool technologies.The current line of Ultrabooks are averaging at  $1200 (52,000). It's still a bit steep but hopefully it'll go down by a lot.