Ultrabook may be the fancy branding, but Intel isn't relying solely on a swish name to make its Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge notebooks appealing. Later in 2011 will come various "responsiveness innovations" including a MacBook Air-style instant-resume feature called Rapid Start, which promises just 5-6 seconds between hibernation and being ready to use, along with Smart Connect, for streamlining social networking updates.
Rapid Start - which we first heard about earlier this month - basically uses SSD storage to save the hibernation file. That speedy memory means you get the same quick resumes as if you'd gone to standby in RAM, but the power frugality of hibernating to HDD.
Intel Smart Connect, meanwhile, works a little like Street Pass on the Nintendo 3DS, keeping the notebook's WiFi connection active and downloading email and social networking updates even while it's in standby. That means, when you do open up the lid to check your messages, they're all ready and waiting for you. It remains to be seen what impact this may have on battery life.
Finally, there's Intel Smart Response, which "dynamically reorganizes" your commonly-accessed files from your HDD to a chunk of SSD storage. That means apps and data loads more quickly.
Smart Connect and Rapid Start will begin showing up on Sandy Bridge based notebooks in the second half of this year.