CES 2012 is just a few more days away, and with it will come plenty of new and exciting news from a variety of different sources such as Microsoft, Intel, and other key players in the tech world.
When it comes to Intel and other PC-related vendors it is likely that CES will focus largely on Windows 7 ultrabooks hitting the market, but internally at least Intel realizes that a larger part of their focus, financially and in the grand scheme, is actually Windows 8.
Intel’s CEO, Otellini, truly believes that Windows 8 will play a vital role in closing in on not only the gap between Macbook Air but even Apple’s mobile devices like the iPad.
Back in November, at the Credit Suisse Technology Conference, Intel was talking about its laptop strategy in general and they received a retort from an analyst that probably hit home hard, “But how many people in this room have iPads?”
The truth is tablets like iPad and Kindle Fire have made a major impact in both the casual/consumer market and the business world.
The iPad is likely the number one tablet choice for business users at this point, but Intel believes that its ultrabooks could be the game changer.
So what makes ultrabooks, hopefully with Windows 8, a game changer?
Intel hopes to push touch-based ultrabooks out to the market sometime this year that will not only work as full functioning legacy desktop devices for businesses and power users, but also will have the convenience of a true touch OS through the use of the Metro UI.
Unlike previous attempts to use Android/Windows together to have this kind of support, we aren’t talking about two different operating systems coming together through something like virtualization.
Instead Windows 8 offers two distinct GUIs under one roof, which is a lot less complicated and not nearly the resource hog as other options prove to be.
So at CES we will likely see at least one vendor show off an ultrabook that uses touch and maybe even a convertible model, which Intel promises will arrive in time.
While convertibles already exist they are often overweight and underpowered.
If Intel can really deliver the promised ultrabook specs in a highly convertible form, they could have a hit on their hands at least in the business world.
Intel has also talked about how a great deal of their success hinges on the fact that ultrabooks are able to hit around $600 or less by the end of the year for a touch model.
If Intel’s ultrabook convertibles could hit $600-$700, I think that some users who need legacy support might actually consider an x86 Windows 8 convertible ultrabook over an iPad, though maybe I’m being overly optimistic.
My original issue with the ultrabook standard was that it seemed, at first, to merely be an attempt to copy Apple. Why is this a problem?
Because Apple fans like Apple products, they won’t be swayed by fancy clones. In order to sway those who aren’t Apple fans to make a non-Apple choice you need to offer something that is similar but still different enough to stand out.
Touch-capable ultrabooks that convert into larger slate/tablets certainly could fit that bill. Should Apple be worried about recent developments from Intel? Honestly, I don’t think so.
Do I think that Intel’s convertible touch ultrabooks could have a wide appeal for business/power users though? Yes, just not enough to make Apple worry all that much.
I really look forward to this year’s CES and I believe we will get a much better look at what ultrabooks represent and how they might affect the future of laptops in the years to come. Are ultrabooks here to stay?
I don’t know. I am rather certain that thin-and-light and lacking DVD/Blu-ray will become the norm in a few years (we are living in a world where an actual media drive just isn’t as necessary), I just don’t know if the Intel standard (ultrabook) will keep around for long.
All we can do is wait and see.
What do you think about ultrabooks and Intel’s overall strategy to attempt to inch into the mobile sector to stay competitive? Share your thoughts below.