Intel: Future of Ultrabook controls are touch, speech and gesture

Intel has used its CES 2012 press conference to demonstrate some of the new features it is developing for the future of the Ultrabook. While manufacturers are starting to show their launch devices during the trade show in Las Vegas, the company's vice president Mooly Eden took the opportunity to tease what the next wave of Ultrabooks might offer.

Many of the new features will circle around the way you control a portable PC. Touchscreen is one of those, and although some have poo-poohed the idea of touch on a laptop before (including, famously, Steve Jobs), Eden explained that in consumer tests, the control method was highly received:

"75 per cent of the operation was done on the screen not on the keyboard," he said, alluding to the fact that, after using the PC for a while, the user would eventually gravitate more towards the touchscreen.

"This is for working," he added, while miming typing at a keyboard. "This is for fun," he said while swiping in the air.

Gyroscopic control will also be important. Moving the Ultrabook around can affect the action on screen. Plus, gesture control will implemented: "Imagine controlling Google Earth with gestures," said Eden.

Finally, the company is working in partnership with Nuance to add speech recognition, Siri-style, to Ultrabooks. Voice recognition and control will be a major step forward for the device, claims Eden. It will also work in a wide variety of languages, from both US and UK English, all the way to Mandarin.

No timescale on when the next wave might hit, but each of the features were demonstrated to work on concept machines, such as the Windows 7 Intel Concept Ultrabook.