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Intel Keynote: Embracing Mobile, Ultrabooks & Will.i.am

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 7:08am
Monica Alleven

Intel had more than an hour to make the case for all that is Intel during a late-day keynote Tuesday at 2012 International CES, but all it took was a few minutes from Will.i.am to make the case for Ultrabooks.

The recording artist's Ultrabook Project involves going to 12 cities around the world in 12 months, creating songs with the help of Intel-powered Ultrabooks and raising money for worthy projects. The group already went to Japan, where the project raised money for tsunami survivors. The first song from that was posted to the Intel AppUp site, where it's available for 10,000 downloads.

What got a chuckle from the audience is how Will.i.am summed up the latest technology. He explained that in the '80s, people walked around with big radios with speakers hoisted next to their ear and everyone around could hear the music they liked. Today, the boom box is the Ultrabook, or the "new ghetto blaster," as he called it, before the audience and Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini erupted in laughter.

Intel Smartphone Reference DesignBefore that burst of energy, which they saved for the end of the keynote, Otellini and co-emcees took the audience through Intel's vision of the future, which includes Intel-architected smartphones, tablets and of course, the Ultrabooks. They showed off devices that can turn a notebook into a tablet depending on the user's need – and even integrate together with an Intel-powered smartphone for things like quick check-out on a website.

Otellini started at Intel more than three decades ago and has enjoyed a great front-row seat to the greatest of revolutions, from camcorders to DVD players and HDTV and everything in between. But he contends all that's nothing compared to what's on the horizon.

Security is one of the things that must be built into mobile devices, and Intel's got that covered on a PC-grade scale, with last year's acquisition of McAfee. Especially in a mobile and cloud-driven world, security needs to be integrated into the overall experience, Otellini said.

That will come with Intel-powered smartphones distributed by Lenovo in China, the world's largest market. Liu Jun, senior vice president and president of the Mobile Internet and Digital Home division of Lenovo, came on stage to show off the K800 smartphone, which features a low-power consuming Intel Atom processor. It will be available for China Unicom in the second quarter.

Otellini said the Intel smartphone reference design, which he described as a customer-ready platform, will allow customers to bring their own differentiation to devices. It's built on Android and was put through the paces with an on-stage demo, including a camera that took 10 pictures of a dancer crossing the stage in under a second.

Motorola Mobility Chairman and CEO Sanjay Jha was on hand to announce a multi-year, multi-device partnership with Intel for Motorola devices and smartphones that will use Intel Atom processors. The first Intel/Motorola integrated devices under the deal should be in carrier validation programs this summer.

Dell showed off a new Ultrabook, the XPS 13, that weighs less than three pounds. It will be available in February and provides up to eight hours of battery life.

But the "star" of the show, Will.i.am, showed off his Ultrabook and said he's proud to be at the center of technology. In years past, Michael Jackson would go into a music studio, record and then you'd hear it on the radio. Now, artists create music on a computer and that's where you listen to it.

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