The next chapter in the ultrabook saga: 'Haswell'

Ultrabooks are currently limping along on Windows 7, but Windows 8 and Haswell should put some spring in their step.

Acer's first-generation Windows 8 touch-screen ultrabook. The second generation will likely feature Haswell chips.
(Credit: CNET Asia)

While Windows 8 is obviously a hot topic, less is being said about Haswell, Intel's next chip design that will underwrite the third stage of ultrabooks. That's because Intel hasn't been talking about Haswell, except at the QT in NDA sessions in Asia this week.

Haswell is probably the first mainstream PC-class chip from Intel designed with really thin, small PCs in mind from the get-go. It will also probably pack a mean graphics punch (ie, bigger performance uptick than usual), but not a whole lot more is known about the new micro-architecture.

Until Haswell arrives, the first generation of Windows 8 touch-screen ultrabooks, from companies like Acer and Lenovo, will use Ivy Bridge processors. But the real deal (that is, more affordable touch-screen models) won't land until 2013 with Haswell.

And note that Microsoft won't bring out its Intel-based Windows Pro tablet until the end of January (or thereabouts). Is it waiting for Haswell? Either way, Haswell would make for a solid second-generation Surface Pro tablet.


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