Intel had a few more things to share at their Computex presentation today besides announcing Ultrabooks, including a couple of instant-on innovations designed to make laptops more responsive: Rapid Start and Smart Connect.
The first is essentially an efficient hibernation mode that allows users to resume in just five seconds. To do this, Intel saves a laptop's state onto the flash storage embedded in its motherboard, which is similar to what Apple did with the MacBook Air, and as a result it requires no power to remember this information before resuming. The company demonstrated this by taking out and reattaching the battery of a test laptop while it was still in hibernation mode.
As for Smart Connect, it involves some form of software layer that enables any running application to update itself while the laptop is asleep. This includes your email client, Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds and so on. Smart Connect will periodically wake up the system to check if there are any updates or emails and then puts it back to sleep. As a result resuming should be much quicker because everything would have been updated.
According to AnandTech, Smart Connect will debut in some Ultrabooks at the end of this year, but with Ivy Bridge in 2012 the technology will move to a push model instead of a pull model, which should be better for battery life.
Rapid Start and Smart Connect are not exclusive to so-called ultrabooks, though, so in theory soon you'll be able to find the same functionality on mainstream laptops running Sandy Bridge processors as well as netbooks powered Intel's upcoming 32nm netbook platform codenamed Cedar Trail, due this holiday season.