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Intel Ramping up for Ultrabook Revolution

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The computing market has been strongly influenced in the last year by the rise of tablet computing and thin lightweight form factors. It’s a trend that chip giant Intel is very much focused on to help drive growth in 2012 and beyond.

Intel reported its first quarter fiscal 2012 earning late Monday. Revenue was reported at $12.9 billion with Net Income coming in at $2.7 billion. Intel’s PC Client Group delivered the lion’s share of revenue at $8.5 billion with the Data Center Group coming in at $2.5 billion.

During the quarter, Intel announced its new Intel Xeon E5 Romley series chip architecture. The Xeon E5 provides networking and cloud-focused performance gains for servers.

“One month after launch, Romley has shipped nearly twice the volume of Nehalem at the same point in its ramp,” Intel CEO, Paul Otellini said during the company’s earnings call.

On the consumer side, Intel is now gearing up for the release of its next generation Ivy Bridge chip architecture.

“We’ve already begun high-volume shipment of Ivy Bridge products, and you will soon see system availability,” Otellini said. “Ivy Bridge will be our fastest ramping product ever, comprising nearly 1/4 of our microprocessor volume in Q2 alone and crossing over 50 percent of our microprocessor shipments this fall.”

A key target consumer platform for Ivy Bridge will be Intel’s Ultrabook efforts. The Ultrabook is a thin lightweight notebook device similar in nature to the Mac Air.

“Ultrabooks are reinventing computing with new form factors, high performance, better battery life, advanced security and other exciting new features,” Otellini said. “With more than 21 designs already shipping and more than 100 designs in the pipeline for 2012, we’re very pleased with our progress, and yet this is just the beginning.”

During the earnings call, Otellini was asked about the long-term prospect for the consumer markets and how the battle will shape up between Ultrabooks and tablets.

“If you look at people buying tablets today, particularly in the iPad arena, there are people that have started out with PCs and very often still use PCs and it’s a complimentary device,” Otellini said. “How that unfolds two or three years from now, I don’t think anyone knows.”

That said, Otellini stressed that with the new Ultrabook designs he’s excited about the notion of bringing the convenience, thinness and the touch capabilities of a tablet combined with the usefulness of a keyboard into the same device.

“I think that it’s way too early to have a debate on Ultrabook versus tablet because, in fact, in my view the long-term form factor is probably somewhere in between those two devices,” Otellini said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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