News Analysis: Intel is trying to add a new notebook category to the personal computer market. But the company should know that its plans are a bad idea. It's trying to create a narrow product niche that may fail to win buyer support.
Intel wants to try to bridge the gap between tablets and lightweight
notebooks with a new category of devices it unveiled at the Computex
trade show called Ultrabooks. The products attempt to deliver the thin
and light design of lightweight notebook with the functionality of a
tablet. The company says that the Ultrabooks, which all run on its
processors, could have as much as 40 percent market share by the end of
Lofty goals aside, it's hard to see much value in Ultrabooks. They
might appeal to those who don't want to opt for tablets and don't need
high-powered notebooks. But other than that, the market for them seems
rather limited. Moreover, at a sub-$1,000 price tag, it might be hard
for Intel to get consumers to buy Ultrabooks instead of tablets,
considering how popular devices such as the iPad have become over the last
Simply put, Intel's Ultrabooks idea seems like an ill-conceived strategy
that could go horribly wrong for the chip maker.
Read on to find out why Ultrabooks are just a bad idea.
1. Where is Intel really focused?
Intel doesn't seem focused on any one thing
The company is doing well in the laptop and desktop markets, but its
investors know all too well that its product line falls short in the
mobile market. Is Intel's Ultrabooks push an attempt to fend off any
complaints from investors who are concerned about its focus in the
desktop and laptop markets, or does Intel really believe it can be a
success with the new devices? At this point, that's not clear. And that
could prove to be an issue for the company as investors start to wonder
if it's really focused on making Ultrabooks a success or if it's simply a bridge to work its way into the mobile space.
2. The company needs a better mobile strategy
Speaking of the mobile space, Intel has had trouble trying to influence that market
It continues to promise bigger and better things for tablets and
smartphones, but so far, it hasn't delivered. Ultrabooks are a bad idea
simply because Intel should be focusing its efforts on developing a
tablet and smartphone strategy that will actually work. Those devices
are the future, not Ultrabooks.
3. Netbooks are dying
Once all the marketing speak is stripped away from Intel's Ultrabooks
idea, it won't take long for some consumers to wonder if the devices
are simply what other vendors call netbooks. After all, the computers
will be mobile, somewhat underpowered compared to bigger alternatives
and affordable. For its part, Intel has shied away from the netbook
title, but it might be an appropriate comparison. As recent sales
figures have shown, netbooks are dying. That doesn't bode well for
4. Chromebooks are more unique
Let's not forget that Intel isn't the only company trying to bring a
new product category to the marketplace. The company's Ultrabooks
announcement followed Google's launch in May of Chromebooks, a new line
of devices, made by vendor partners, that runs its cloud-based Chrome
operating system. Though they might not survive against tablets and
high-powered laptops either, Chromebooks are at least unique. Intel's
Ultrabooks, on the other hand, don't seem unique enough to justify