Though Intel will care not to admit it, sales of Ultrabooks™ haven't been as strong as the company ebulliently predicted when first announced at COMPUTEX last year.
Ultrabooks - premium notebooks powered by Intel Core ULV processors - were launched at a time when macroeconomic global events conspired to force consumers to re-evaluate expensive technology purchases (Apple doesn't seem to have suffered much - ed.). Now on their second iteration, powered by the latest Ivy Bridge processors, Ultrabooks have managed to sustain a modicum of momentum, with numerous designs from a wide range of OEM partners.
Set to provide significant impetus next year, the third generation of Ultrabooks will feature the firm's mobile variant of the upcoming Haswell chip architecture. If I didn't know better, the mainstream Haswell mobile part, equipped with a 15W TDP, seems to have been architected primarily for the benefit of Ultrabooks.
Intel, however, isn't looking solely at Haswell to provide some much-needed stimulus. At its annual developer conference, Dadi Perlmutter, Chief Technology Officer, announced that Intel is joining forces with Nuance, the voice-control specialists, and is bringing the firm's Dragon Assistant technology to Ultrabooks at the start of next year.
Run on a currently-available Dell XPS13 Ultrabook by simply saying 'Hello Dragon,' Intel demonstrated the Assistant software working seamlessly when tasked with everyday operations such as searching for and playing music, tweeting, and investigating possible sunglasses purchases on Amazon.com. Perlmutter explained that the search was conducted through the horsepower of the Ultrabook, and not by any heavy lifting done via cloud computing.
It is not clear whether this collaboration with Nuance is limited to Ultrabooks, how it will be implemented for present Ultrabook owners, or, for that matter, how Nuance plans to monetise software licensing.