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Ultrabooks strive for consumer acceptance

Posted: 06 Jan 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ultrabook? mobile devices? operating system?

For almost a year, Intel Corp. has been advocating the concept of "ultrabook" PCs. However, only four PC OEMs have rolled out thinner, lighter and sleeker notebooks to the market.

Several more have announced future devices based on Intel's reference design, but whether the devices will succeed in the market is still a hotly debated subject.

"The current ultrabooks are nothing more than a slim and light-weight notebook, or should I say MacBook Air clones with a Windows operating system," said In-Stat analyst Jim McGregor, claiming that the platform is far from revolutionary.

Instant-on capabilities, touchscreens, new security features, all-day battery life and many other sleek features are mostly tied to the release of Windows 8 later next year, said McGregor, adding that this would also depend on Microsoft Corp. sticking to its schedule.

While some ultrabook features may be new to traditional notebook models, McGregor said they are simply "evolutionary trends" already set in motion by other mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

Acer ultrabook

McGregor: The current ultrabooks are nothing more than a slim and light-weight notebook, or should I say MacBook Air clones with a Windows operating system The current ultrabooks are nothing more than a slim and light-weight notebook, or should I say MacBook Air clones with a Windows operating system.

Ultrabooks, he said, were simply further blurring the line between PCs and tablets, especially with the rise in popularity of detachable keyboards and the expectation of the Windows 8 operating system.

"The main difference between the tablet and Ultrabook platform will be software, consumer usage models, and/or purchasing and business models," said McGregor, pointing out that while Intel drove the trademarked Ultrabook brand, it was nothing more than a rebrand of its previous ultra-thin branding exercise.

Taking his argument a step further, McGregor posits that the Ultrabook brand is simply not important to consumers.

"The concept of the slim notebook is just an evolution in mobile computing that is long overdue. The entire PC ecosystem has a history of trying to charge more for smaller devices rather than viewing the trend as a path to further growth," he said.

Current economic circumstances and increased competition, however, have led the PC ecosystem to view the born-again Ultrabooks as a potential lifesaver.


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