Ultrabooks, those thin little computers that have a superior battery life, had been projected to take the computer industry by storm. However, these snappy little machines that are equipped with Intel’s processing units have not lived up to the industry’s robust predictions that they would comprise up to 40% of all computer sales in 2012. In fact, analysts from IHS iSuppli suggest that Ultrabooks may amount to only one-half of Intel’s original forecast.
So what is an Ultrabook? To receive this coveted designation, Intel has set certain hardware criteria. Naturally, first of all, an Ultrabook must be equipped with one of Intel’s processing units, which means that those equipped with processing units from AMD or ARM need not apply. In addition, the Ultrabook must have a thin design (think Apple MacBook Air) and have superior battery life when compared to other standard laptop or notebook computers.
So why is Intel failing to dominate the computer marketplace with its Ultrabooks? Well, according to some experts, Intel may be falling victim to the 20-year rule that appears to apply to most industries. This rule, if one subscribes to this premise, states that most industries have a life expectancy of approximately 20 years, after which they are replaced by something new and improved. This is probably not a far-fetched idea since, when you look back over history, this influx / outflux of life is seen occurring over and over again. In fact, even the cowboys of the wild, wild, west days only lasted for about 20 years (1860-1880) before the railroads took over transporting cattle. So, if this rule is being applied in the case of the computer industry, both Microsoft and Intel are destined to rescind into history since they have already reigned supreme for more than 20 years.
What is competing against the Ultrabook? There are some new kids on the block, most notably from Apple, that have taken consumers by storm. The most notable of these, of course, is the Apple iPad. From its entry into the marketplace, its quality construction has resulted in its being viewed as a fantastic product with users having consistently noted how well it performs and how much fun it is to use. Of course, this consumer love affair with Apple products is the result of Apple having done its homework when it created this pint-sized marvel. However, Apple isn’t just a tablet manufacturer that has done well. It also did a great job with the creation of its iPhones, which have become more than phones. They’re mini computers that consumers will stand in line for hours to buy. Then, if Apple products are out of the consumer’s price range, there is a vast assortment of other Android phones and / or tablets that have garnered a favored status among certain groups of consumers.
Another prototype was Google’s Cr-48. It is a great little machine, but this morning was the first time that I had opened up mine in three months. I believe that Google’s concept for a lightweight, quick starting, cloud-based computer was an excellent idea. Unfortunately, however, the public hasn’t felt the same way about it and sales for Google’s Chromebooks have been lackluster. I believe the same fate awaits Intel’s experiment with its Ultrabook.
Yes, I can already hear the outcries that I am an Apple fanboy. It is true that I find Apple products to be, for the most part, well-thought-out and reliable, but I am not averse to any brand or technology if it delivers what it promises. In fact, I use all different technologies, which include a wide array of different brands, various software, and varied hardware devices. For example, I currently have a desktop system that is running the RTM version of Windows 8, Two laptop computers running Windows 7, an iPad (that my wife adores), a Google Nexus 7 (my favorite tablet), an old Gateway using Windows XP, and the Google Cr-48, which I rarely use. Out of these, I admit that I am partial to the tablets since they are able, in most cases, to satisfy my needs. However, when I am doing work-related typing, I find it necessary to use a real computer and have chosen Windows as my operating system of choice.
Will Windows 8 save the PC industry? I personally don’t believe so. Why? I believe that Microsoft is focusing on its enterprise partners rather than the consumer market, which could prove a large mistake — but only time will tell. However, with that being said, I believe that Windows-based computers will continue to sell well and that Windows-based tablets will find a place among both business and consumers. However, I believe that both Microsoft and Intel may be coming to the party too late and bringing too little with them when they do show up.
So will Intel’s pet project fail? The answer will be known when consumers either climb on board or decide to jump ship in favor of other technology. Let me know what you think. I always appreciate hearing your opinions about my articles.
CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by Filip Skakun