Intel Capital, the chip giant’s global venture-capital arm, has just announced the creation of a $300 million dollar fund devised to help accelerate the development of “ultrabooks” and adjacent innovations. Monies from the Ultrabook Fund will be invested into hardware and software firms working on products or technologies designed to enhance how people interact with or use Ultrabooks, like sensor technologies or touch interfaces, for example. Technologies designed to improve battery life, enhance physical designs, or improve storage capacity are also mentioned specifically in Intel Capital’s announcement.
Ultrabooks are Intel’s vision for ultra-thin and light notebooks that somewhat meld the tablet and traditional notebooks experiences into a single product. The first Ultrabook to be shown off was the Asus UX21, which made its public debut at Computex 2011. The all-aluminum Asus UX21 is just 0.66″ thick at its thickest point and weighs only 2.4lbs, yet the machine will be offered in configurations with up to a Core i7 processor, a SATA III SSD, and USB 3.0. The machine also features a 2-second resume from sleep more and a glass trackpad.
The Asus UX21
According to Intel, there are three phases in the company’s Ultrabooks acceleration strategy. The first phase began this year with Intel's latest 2nd Generation Intel Core processors based on the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture. The goal with the first family of ultrabooks was to enable thin and light designs that were less than 21mm (0.8 inch) thick, and at mainstream prices. Systems that fall into this category will be available this year, in time for the holidays.
The second phase of Intel's strategy is centered on the company’s next-gen processor family, codenamed Ivy Bridge, which is scheduled to arrive sometime in the first half of 2012. Intel claims mobile devices based on Ivy Bridge will offer improved power efficiency, better graphics and overall performance, and enhanced security. The third phase in the plan revolves around Intel’s products codenamed Haswell, which are currently slated to arrive in 2013. Reportedly, Haswell will reduce power consumption to half of the TDP of today’s microprocessors.
Intel says, “The overall goal of the fund, which will be invested over the next 3-4 years, is to create a cycle of innovation and system capabilities for this new and growing category of mobile devices.” More information regarding the fund is available in the full press release, which is posted below.
Intel Capital Creates $300 Million Ultrabook Fund
SANTA CLARA, Calif. and TAIPEI, August 11, 2011 - Intel Capital today announced a $300 Million Ultrabook Fund to help drive innovation in this new category of devices. As announced at Computex earlier this year, Ultrabook systems will marry the performance and capabilities of today's laptops with tablet-like features. Ultrabooks will deliver a highly responsive and secure experience in a thin, light and elegant design and at mainstream prices.
To help realize that vision, the Intel Capital Ultrabook Fund aims to invest in companies building hardware and software technologies focused on enhancing how people interact with Ultrabooks such as through sensors and touch, achieving all day usage through longer battery life, enabling innovative physical designs and improved storage capacity. The overall goal of the fund, which will be invested over the next 3-4 years, is to create a cycle of innovation and system capabilities for this new and growing category of mobile devices.
"Ultrabooks are poised to be an important area for innovation in the $X billion global computer industry," said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital and Intel executive vice president. The Intel Capital Ultrabook fund will focus on investing in companies building technologies that will help revolutionize the computing experience and morph today's mobile computers into the next must have device.
"Celebrating 30 years of innovation, the PC is the ultimate Darwinian device and Intel is striving to again reinvent mobile computing," said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of Intel s PC Client Group. In 2003, the combination of Intel's Centrino technology with built-in Wi-Fi, paired with Intel Capital's $300 million in venture investments and other industry enabling efforts, ushered in the shift from desktop PCs to anytime, anywhere mobile computing. Our announcement today is about Intel mobilizing significant investments to achieve the next historic shift in computing.
Intel Revealed The First Ultrabook Design At Computex 2011
There are three key phases in Intel's strategy to accelerate its vision for this new category. The company's efforts begin to unfold this year with Intel's latest 2nd Generation Intel Core processors. This family of products will enable thin, light and beautiful designs that are less than 21mm (0.8 inch) thick, and at mainstream prices. Systems based on these chips will be available for the 2011 winter holiday shopping season.
To ship Ultrabooks this year required significant collaboration amongst the entire computing industry. Intel has worked very closely with its customers to ensure that Ultrabooks deliver compelling and unique value to consumers. Many OEMs have been collaborating on this effort from the very beginning.
"Ultrabook takes the best technologies and marries them with sleeker designs and extraordinarily long battery life for a new kind of computing experience", said Peter Hortensius, President, Product Group, Lenovo. "This new type of personal computing aligns with our continual focus on engineering innovative laptop solutions that push the boundaries on mobility" The second phase of Intel's vision happens around the next generation Intel processor family codenamed Ivy Bridge, which is scheduled for availability in systems in the first half of 2012. Laptops based on Ivy Bridge will bring improved power efficiency, smart visual performance, increased responsiveness and enhanced security.
Intel's planned 2013 products -- codenamed Haswell -- are the third step in the Ultrabooks progression and are expected to reduce power consumption to half of the thermal design point for today's microprocessors.
Side view of the Asus UX21
Intel Capital has a strong track record of driving innovation and growth in computing through dedicated and consistent investments in start-ups and companies at the cutting edge of technology innovation worldwide. By employing Intel's core assets of architecture, engineering and manufacturing leadership along with capital investment, Intel Capital has helped to create the technology ecosystems which underlie many of the most widespread applications of technology today.
In addition to the Intel Capital Ultrabook fund, Intel Capital has a number of dedicated funds that drive innovations in specific geographies and technology areas. Current country specific funds include the India Technology Fund, China Technology Fund II, Brazil Technology Fund and Middle East and Turkey Fund. Past technology specific funds have included the Intel Digital Home Fund and the Intel Communications Fund.
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