Ultrabooks, those slim, stylish, and super lightweight laptops designed to compete with the MacBook Air, are currently on an upswing. However, with the advances in tablets and smartphones, will they be able to stay relevant? There are a number of issues Ultrabook manufacturers will need to address to make sure that the laptop format does not go the way of netbooks.
When Things Get Hard
Hard drives are a major challenge for Ultrabooks, as well as any small device, like tablets or cameras. The problem is, traditional hard drives are simply too big to fit in the super slim cases of Ultrabooks. There are a few manufacturers who have managed to cram one in, but most Ultrabooks use solid state drives.
Solid state drives are awesome as far as speed is concerned. They have no moving parts and can transfer data at blistering speeds. They are also very compact when compared with traditional hard drives. However, all this speed and size reduction comes at a price.
To stay competitive, Ultrabook manufacturers are going to have to invest heavily in bringing the cost of solid state drives down. This will help their overall cost of production drop and might bring them closer in price to the latest tablets.
All Things Old Will Become New
Even though Ultrabooks are very new in the computer world, it is important that they maintain some backwards compatibility. For business purposes, they have to run Office. Without these indispensable business applications, just about any computer is doomed to failure.
A lot of business IT departments are slow to change to the latest and greatest software available, so being able to run older versions of a program is a plus. Innovation and newness are great, but there is no substitute for being on the same page as the rest of the world.
“Out Tablet” The Tablets?
By design, Ultrabooks are much more slimmer than most laptops. A big selling point for them is thinness and portability. Thinness and portability are also selling points for tablets. In order to remain relevant, Ultrabooks will have to outdo tablets at their own game.
They will not only need to match them in terms of size and weight, but in terms of price. This is probably the single biggest challenge for Ultrabooks, since they currently cost about twice as much as most tablets. While there will always be a market for the casual user who just wants something simple to surf the web with, Ultrabooks at least need to make a play for the “higher end” tablet user. These users want the ability to manage portfolios, edit movies, and other more demanding tasks.
It’s The Process That Counts
Ultimately, the popularity of Ultrabooks hinges mainly on whether Intel can keep coming up with processors and other interior components that give them a distinct advantage in speed. Speed is the meat and potatoes of the computer world, and those that don’t have it, want it.
If Intel manages to keep forging tiny chips that can make tablets and smartphones look as though they are moving on slow-motion, they should be able to remain competitive. Intel has a good track record at upping the game with every new chip release, so Ultrabooks look to have a good chance at staying competitive.
Robert Kingsley is a freelancer who concentrates his writing energies mainly in the areas of cell phones, computers, futuristic technology, gadgetry and other kindred subjects. Those with iPads may want to consider the kensington ipad keyboard case from kensington.com as an accessory.