Intel's big announcement at CES is their new Sandy Bridge architecture. Without getting too far into the technical side, the important thing about this is the addition of graphics processing onto the main CPU itself. It may sound like a simple upgrade, but it could change the way we all do a lot of things with our computers.
Having both graphics and regular ol' computing working in tandem creates a new flow of data that allows for massive jumps in RAW image processing (RAW images are commonly used in digital photography), video transcoding and 3D rendering. According to Intel, improvements of over 800% in regards to performance over existing processors were recorded. That number is a little hard to qualify, but in short it sounds like the company is trying to catch the processor up to the way we use our computers today.
In addition to games and application performance, this also allows for user interface evolution to continue in new and exciting ways. Touch screens, 3D interfaces, facial recognition and so forth will all be possible on the new chips.
Being extremely efficient, it allows for laptops to outperform 50% of the discrete cards out there. Even $400 ones. In a sense, lower-end or portable machines may not need to find a way to cram in a seperate graphics processor anymore. This leads to potential super-tablets, home theaters and PCs. This seems to be the biggest milestone for Intel in a long time. Congrats to them, now lets get some chips!