Why Ultrabooks rock but I think I'll pass


Don’t for once get me wrong when you read the heading. I like the Ultrabooks, their sleek and thin form factor ooze such attitude that was previously reserved for only MacBook Air. Intel on its part has spent $300 million in the Ultrabooks ecosystem and in the process ensuring that they have a safe future and don’t die a slow death like the Atom powered netbooks. Ultrabooks are showing us the foreseeable future in the world of the laptops where design and performance will form a deadly mixture which will soon be the industry standard. And if Intel’s CES presentation is anything to go by we are closer to this reality than it seems.

Yet it seems to me that Intel could have never been more wrong than this before. Read on to find out why Ultrabooks is Intel’s utopian dream and why it may end badly for it.

1)Tablets

Intel has an inherent aversion to the tablet market. Which seems strange seeing the fact that tablets seems to the next step in the evolution of laptop. Intel demoed a number of form factors in the Ultrabooks ranging from touch enabled screens to transparent trackpads to devices with NFC. Intel justified its decision by saying that consumers want devices that can act as work horses and not just be limited to entertainment devices which the tablets merely are.

But Intel keeps forgetting one fact that who in their right mind would play a game lifting the entire laptop? And even if the device is a slider, where the keyboard slides behind the screen, I can’t imagine the weight of such a device and using it for long interval of time doesn’t make any sense. Why not create a device where the screen can be removed from the keyboard altogether? I would any day prefer a device with a touch screen and a docking keyboard over a slider Ultrabooks.

2)Design

Intel deserves high marks for enforcing hardware requirements leading the companies to manufacture devices with looks that could one could only have imagined from a company like Apple. But this is where it gets tricky, many of the Ultrabooks are a piece of art on their own, be it the Ultrabooks from Lenovo with the book cover design or the Samsung Series 5 Ultra. But leaving these companies, Intel is at the risk of manufacturers making devices that are clones of one another.

The same problem that has plagued Android, the devices are just too similar. If proper care is not taken, Intel may end up with clones in the laptop space. We have already started seeing Ultrabooks from unknown brands which are let’s just say politely are too much Air alike. These devices have the potential to ruin the Ultrabooks image to that of MacBook Air clones.

3)Operating System

Though Apple offers so much less choice than choice in terms of hardware design than Windows, yet we find that slowly Apple is catching up. The faint glow of Apple logo is now found everywhere from DJ booths to hackathons to product launches. Ultrabooks may evolve the hardware design to the next level but something about the OS still needs to be done.

Intel may sell a ton of these devices due to their cheap prices but Apple has been aggressively offering discounts in its "Back-to-School" campaigns and people are inclining towards it because of the finish of the Mac OS. Something which Intel needs to take care of in its Ultrabooks, hardware is one thing but OS needs to evolve also to match the quality of the changing hardware.

4)UltraDesktops

I find it weird for a company that has been pushing laptops so aggressively and has bluntly disregarded the desktop space .Intel has not announced any plans for the desktop space, or the all-in-one PCs. What Intel has done with the laptops can easily be reciprocated in the desktop space.

The all-in-one market has seen year to year growth and it continues to be dominated by the iMac and is quite popular with the so called "creative types" who prefer the 24inch screens for their work. Intel can aim to capture this market with the UltraDesktops placing hardware requirements just as it had done with Ultrabooks and offer incentives to the manufacturers for these devices. This will ultimately lead to innovation in the desktop space in the same way we have seen in the Ultrabooks.

Until that happens I’m happy waiting for either Windows 8 to launch and then buy one of the Ultrabooks or simply spend my money on an Apple device.