We've found our highlight of CeBIT 2012: it's Intel's 13.3-inch ultrabook with a capacitive touchscreen. Just one prototype laptop is making its way through the vast dungeons of Hannover this week, but we tracked it down (thanks, Chippy!) and it's an absolute delight to use. Intended to show how OEMs can enhance their ultrabooks with touch, this machine is running Windows 7 and doing a splendid job of navigating through the Zinio digital magazine app. The experience of using it is identical to what you'll already be used to with your smartphone or tablet — it's just that capacitive screens have up until now tended to be limited to form factors of 10 inches and below.
Of course, Zinio is just a demo platform for the touch functionality, offering a swipe-friendly UI and a look at pinch-to-zoom operation. The killer usage scenario for a touchscreen will inevitably be Windows 8. CeBIT has been loaded with laptops running the Consumer Preview and my instinctive reaction every time has been to try and touch it. Now Intel has smartly spliced the best of the tablet and laptop realms into one by putting the touchscreen onto the clamshell device. Intel's Dave Rogers was on hand to give us even better news: OEM designs for touchscreen laptops and convertibles are already "in the pipeline" and should be available to buy near the end of this year.