The days of the humble desktop computer seem numbered, to say the least. More people are on laptops than desktops, and more still are starting to forgo the computer entirely in favor of handheld devices like Androids and iPads. With the coming Ultrabook, it looks like even the standard laptop and notebook are being threatened now.
What Is It?
The Ultrabook is essentially an effort to make powerbooks and laptops slimmer and lighter than ever before without compromising the power of a good notebook. The end goal is to create a laptop about the size and weight of a magazine and the same graphical power, processing speed and battery life of a full sized laptop.
How Does That Work?
The core of the unit is the Intel processor which works on lower battery life. It stands to reason that once Intel discovered how to reduce the energy intake of their processors, that smaller, lighter laptops would be right around the corner, but the Ultrabook is nevertheless a bit surprising in its sheer lightness.
Something that you will notice if you take a look at photos of an Ultrabook prototype is the relative lack of USB ports. The prototype models being shown currently only have a single USB port. The Ultrabook is simply so incredibly thin that to add a second port would compromise the size of the unit.
Why the Ultrabook?
As we mentioned, laptops and desktops are fast becoming a thing of the past. PC sales are in a slump, it's as simple as that. There are people who will always need a good PC. These are people who need a workstation, people like film editors, writers and graphic designers. However, the market for the PC as a web browsing device, as something for casual use or convenience, is fast drying up.
The Ultrabook is intended to compete not only with the MacBook Air, but with the iPads and blackberries that have replaced the PC in the marketplace for consumer electronics.
Test Driving the Ultrabook
Because of the experimental nature of the unit, it's no surprise that Dell's own XPS 13 model Ultrabook launched with Project Sputnik, a feedback initiative intended to gather intel and opinions from the developer community. By asking for feedback directly instead of waiting for negative reviews to pop up all over the web, Dell have made the effort to keep improving their product right from launch.
Outside of some great Dell laptop deals, expect to see the Ultrabook in the $999.99 price range. Intel and other companies are currently looking into ways and means of reducing that price because the end goal is to put out a machine that is as accessible and as fun to use as an iPhone or an Android. Right now, the Ultrabook is for serious users, professionals and hardcore hobbyists. If Intel and Dell can bring the price down into the $500 range before the technology becomes dated, then the Ultrabook may become a serious competitor in the field of consumer electronics.