Perspective: An ultrabook…? We tend to think different
You’ll notice that every year at CES, tech-surveillance groups participate in a sort of stylespotting — an attempt to spot 0ne or two huge themes of the show that could steal or characterize the year in technology. And last year, the few ones that were easy to spot (was, 3D TV and tablets), while other occasions it entailed a bit of presumption. But this year among the most oft-cited styles is the “ultrabook.” Citing from the companies’ announcements at CES, and the coverage they got, one would think that’s a fresh sort of gadget or a completely new kind of laptop. But, honestly, these are just thin, slick laptops.
Perhaps Ultrabooks, a name entirely-owned and fabricated by Intel, and the excitement that’s seen for them at the show is just a start. Intel is allegedly planning its major advertising thrust in 8 years to campaign for Ultrabooks, and it’s obviously by now done a decent job of making sure hardware manufacturers are on board the bandwagon. Even though Ultrabooks did receive a little less publicity at the time, they essentially debuted in May of 2012 during Taiwan’s Computex trade show, where Intel pointed out the devices as PCs that “get hitched on the performance and features of today’s laptops with tablet-like characteristics and bring an extremely responsive and reliable experience, in a slick, light and stylish design.” According to ASUS Chairman, Jonney Shih, “Ultrabooks are here to change the way individuals interact with their computers.”
It’s great to see smaller, thinner laptops that are just as capable as their bigger counterparts, and that’s just the way laptops have evolved over the years. The obvious case is the MacBook Air – that technically can’t be called an Ultrabook, albeit it is questionably the major rival to all of the new machines introduced at CES.
Another similarity that frequently comes up is the netbook – a name that has somehow survived to exist close to the laptop, although netbooks are useful because they define what they are. A netbook often is not a laptop substitute for most users. It’s smaller and usually cheaper compared to a proper laptop, except that comes with a few real trades-offs. In fact, calling netbooks laptops is doing a disservice to consumers.
So what’s all the hype behind Ultrabooks? Really, there’s no any reason behind it, but a number of factors would have contributed to this hype. Kit Eaton only just explored several potentials in a fraction for Fast Company and not only the immediate threat from Apple, but the increasing availability of ARM-based devices – shortly to embrace Windows 8-based tablets. Besides, tablets as a whole seem to be one of the factors driving the Ultrabook excitement. They are a justifiably “fresh staff,” and are driving attention away from the old staff.
There’s still some potential for more real innovation in the gap among tablets and laptops, though. At the moment, you can get a slate that docks with a keyboard, yet it doesn’t substitute a laptop, and a laptop that switches into a tablet, yet it won’t replace a tablet. Windows 8 allows such devices (for example: pictured above, Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga is quite near but not yet), and it appears Apple is also moving in a related direction too, considering the thinning gap between iOS and OS X. We’re yet to receive some new hype on those devices, perhaps freshly branded.