Intel Haswell Chip: Ultrabook Battery Life Doubles

Dennis Faas's picture

Although their popularity is growing all the time, lightweight and portable 'ultrabook' PCs will soon get another boost from a number of emerging technologies, including next-generation batteries that could double the amount of time an ultrabook can function unplugged.

Chipmaker Intel unveiled some of these new technologies at its recent Intel Developer Conference. A "massive, massive amount of innovation is coming," Intel said.

Haswell Chips Key to Ultrabook Advancement

The key to this major step forward in ultrabook design will be a fourth-generation of Intel Core chips, currently code-named Haswell.

Haswell chips are scheduled for release in 2013 and will enable computer makers to package voice recognition and gesture-based interaction into the newest ultrabook models, perhaps by the end of next year, according to Intel. (Source:

The voice recognition tool is called Dragon Assistant (DA). Developed by the firm Nuance, DA allows users to control their ultrabook simply by speaking a command out loud.

For example, saying "Hello Dragon" to your computer will awaken the device from sleep mode.

Gesture-based tools, developed by SoftKinetics and by Creative, will allow users to interact with their devices through a gesture-tracking camera.

Users can customize the system to allow specific gestures to trigger certain functions, such as initiating shut down mode or opening a particular program.

Right now, adding these features to an ultrabook could increase its price by several hundred dollars.

However, reductions in the cost of producing other ultrabook components (such as memory or graphics processors) could help manufacturers add the new technologies and still maintain a retail price near $1,000, the current price point for most ultrabook designs.

Ultrabook Battery Life to Double

Haswell chips will also improve overall ultrabook performance and, according to Intel, should dramatically enhance ultrabook battery life.

Because the new  Haswell processors will use less than ten watts of power, instead of today's standard seventeen-plus watts, Intel believes the amount of time a future ultrabook might operate on battery power could double.

That could mean next year's ultrabooks could run for twelve to even twenty hours before requiring a recharge. (Source:

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