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Third-gen Ultrabooks must offer USB 3.0, anti-theft tech

Intel getting tough on bloatware too?

LG Xnote Z330 Ultrabook

"Ultrabook", you'll recall, is an Intel trademark. If you want to use the name in association with your laptop, you need to follow the chip giant's rules. Those edicts have been extended for third-generation machines, which, Intel hopes, will spearhead the platform's entry into the mainstream.

There are three new requirements a notebook must meet to achieve Ultrabook status: it's got to have a "fast file transfer" port, specifically Thunderbolt, Intel's 10Gbps bus, or 5Gbps USB 3.0; security has to be built in; and the machine must be "responsive while active", according to Intel.

The first one is easy to achieve: just build in the appropriate hardware, USB 3.0 with a 7-series chipset. Ditto the second - which covers Intel's own anti-theft and identity protection tech.

Anti-Theft Tech stops the laptop from running if it has been reported stolen. Intel doesn't handle this - you need to subscribe to a third-party to make the technology work. Identity Protection Technology provides chip-level two-factor authentication to confirm to websites you are who you say you are.

Being responsive while active is harder to do. The vendor's best laid plans can be screwed because the user's running a resource-hogging app. Since the manufacturer has no control over what the user does, we hope this is in fact Intel telling Sony, Dell, Toshiba and co. to cut out the bloatware. And about time too.

Optional stuff vendors can integrate into Ultrabooks include Intel's WiDi wireless display technology, touchscreens, and GPS other sensors that the chip giant was talking up back at Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in September 2011.

Manufacturers can support vPro too, if they're pitching Ultrabooks at big business.

Judging by the number of Ultrabook launches currently taking place under NDA until 5 June, expect Intel to go into greater detail about all this on that day. ®

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