I can't wait for 2013. That's the year where Intel's Haswell architecture arrives, bringing three very important things. One, the ability to run your laptop for 24 hours on one charge. Heaven. Two, 10 days on "connected standby".
And three: This 22-nanometre 3D-transistor architecture consumes so little power — 20 times less than their current gear — that it can run on a solar cell. That's exactly what they demonstrated at the Intel's Developer Forum today: a Haswell-based Windows computer running entirely off a solar cell that was being exposed to a light bulb. Imagine that. Basically, your computer would be able to run indefinitely without ever having to power off, even if you run out of battery power to run the machine's display. I'm impressed.
That's why you can also have 10 days of connected standby with your computer connected to a wireless network. That means putting the display to sleep but have the machine continuously connected to the Internet for 10 days, grabbing email, tweets, or synchronising files down from the cloud. I don't know about you, but this low power peace of mind is one of the things that I like most about these new chips.
Before 2013's Haswell comes Ivy Bridge in 2012, which will also reduce power and support DirectX 11.1 and OpenGL 3.2 directly on the chip, as well as 4K high definition video playback. [Anandtech, Marketwatch, Forbes, Ventura Beat, Sweclockers]