Intel Ivy Bridge touchscreen Ultrabook reference design hands-on (video)

Interested in replacing both your tablet and that clunky notebook with a svelte all-in-one portable? Intel might have just the gadget for you -- an Ivy Bridge Ultrabook with a built-in 13.3-inch 1600 x 900-pixel capacitive-touch LCD. We happened upon such a device in the bowels of Intel's gaming-centric CeBIT booth, and had a chance to go hands-on with the company's one and only (at this show, at least) reference design touchscreen Ultrabook. The device we saw appeared to be no larger or thicker than similar portables, but integrated a gorgeous 13.3-inch touchscreen, along with that elusive 1.5GHz Ivy Bridge processor. Unfortunately Intel was mum on detailed specs, though the prototype we saw did include a pair of USB 3.0 ports, SIM and SD card slots, and an HDMI port. And according to the system info page, the touch feature supports up to 10 individual input points. We're also told that there might be NFC functionality on-board, though the only visible confirmation of this hardware feature was a piece of medical tape with the letters "NFC" inscribed.

The touch functionality worked just as expected -- if you've used touch on a high-end tablet before, you're already familiar with the experience here. We were able to navigate the installed Zinio app with ease, flicking through magazine pages and pinch-and-zooming our way around a cover. You can of course use the touchscreen to adjust system settings, drag-and-drop files or input text with the on-screen keyboard, though we found the trackpad and hardware keyboard to be more practical here. Overall, this appears to be a no-compromise solution -- it will surely add to the manufacturing cost for next-gen Ultrabooks, but if you opt for a touch-equipped model only to find that you prefer traditional input controls, there's not much lost on the feature front. And, if you do happen to enjoy flicking your way around a notebook, you're definitely in for a treat. You'll find our hands-on video just past the break.