Intel's press conference at CES 2012 looked exclusively at ultrabooks running Windows 8. That might be a bit of a let-down for those of us primarily interested in smartphones, but we're starting to see how the super-slim, super-light computers will collide with the tablet world.
The announcement of Windows 8 already painted a picture in that direction, but the hardware shown today displays even more overlap with tablets.
For one, there's touch control. Intel unveiled a number of ultrabooks which would make use of a touchscreen without requiring it as a primary input, as on a tablet. PCs have been trying this for awhile, and laptops too in the pre-iPad tablet days, both without particularly great results. What might make ultrabooks more successful is their slim size and hardware layout. One ultrabook Intel showed off had a fully reversible display, so you could carry it around as a tablet, or plop it on a desk and use it as a standard laptop. We've already seen some of the current breed of tablets, like the Transformer Prime, reach for the laptop world with its signature keyboard docking station, but it may hit a brick wall with full-fledge, equally-portable alternatives like these available. Another ultrabook had a slide mechanism to show and hide the keyboard, which we've seen in smartphones, but not yet in tablets.