Tablets may have a new competitor in the form of touch screen Ultrabooks. Intel is strongly encouraging manufacturers to implement touch technology in upcoming ultra portables that adhere to Ultrabook guidelines, says Intel product manager Anand Kajshmanan in an interview with PC World.

Kajshmanan told the publication that his company fundamentally believes in the concept and future of touch, even on clamshells. They believe that the time is now ripe for touch screen notebooks, especially with Windows 8 scheduled to launch later this year. He expects such notebooks to really take off later this year or in 2013 at the latest.

The product manager further noted that he expects to see a boom in convertible touch screen notebooks like the Lenovo Yoga shown at the 2012 CES in January. The concept, however, will come at a price. Kajshmanan didn’t specifically say how much more it would add to the cost but he did give a theoretical example that demonstrated only a $100 increase in price for touch support.

One of the key themes in the interview was about giving the consumer more choices and there’s no doubt that a touch option would do just that. Having multiple options can be hit or miss really. On the obvious hand, it gives the consumer plenty to choose from, as one solution might not work as well for some as it does others. Alternatively, having a single product or category oftentimes allows the manufacturer to focus solely on that product, essentially perfecting it in their eyes. Examples of this working both for and against a company include Apple and HTC.