Ultrabooks will appear in significant numbers at the 2012 CES, suggesting manufacturers are obsessed with thin-and-light beyond tablets.
At the 2011
edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the annual January
event where pretty much all manufacturers in the tech industry (save Apple)
unleash their latest and greatest gizmos, tablets dominated the discussion.
everywhere you looked, it seemed, a company had an Android-based touch-screen
in some stage of development. It reached the point where Microsoft appeared
conspicuous because it didn't overly
emphasize some tablet initiative, although its booth featured a handful of
portable touch-screens primarily for the Asian market.
course of the year that followed, many of those tablets flew into market
battle-not only the Android versions, but also Hewlett-Packard's webOS-powered
TouchPad and Research In Motion's BlackBerry-branded PlayBook-and promptly
crashed and burned in the face of the Apple iPad's overwhelming market
dominance, like X-Wings smacking into the impenetrable hull of the Death
words, despite the combined manufacturers' attempts throughout 2011 to wrestle
a sizable portion of the tablet market from Apple's hands, the situation
remains largely unchanged heading in 2012, although analysts generally predict
that Android will continue to gain some share as those manufacturers continue
to update their existing product lines. Microsoft is also prepping its upcoming
Windows 8 for a sizable tablet push, which could present a sizable new twist on
upcoming CES 2012, it seems a significant number of companies are prepping for
the Next Big Thing in the form of "ultrabooks," or super-thin laptops with more
powerful specs than netbooks, which were the Next Big Thing before tablets.
At a New York
City event Nov. 18, meant to preview wares that will be at CES, manufacturers,
including Asus, Acer, Toshiba and HP, all demonstrated ultrabooks. Meanwhile, PC Pro
indicates that some 30 to 50 ultrabooks will debut at CES, quoting as its
source a CES organizer speaking at a London event.
an aggressive driver of the nascent ultrabook phenomenon, partnering with
manufacturers to issue devices that conform to the chip maker's specifications
for the devices. At the recent CEATEC conference
in Japan, for example, Intel demonstrated ultrabooks with roughly similar
design parameters from Toshiba (with the Dynabook), Acer (the Aspire S3-1) and
Asus (the UX21).
many ways represent an attempt by Intel and those manufacturers to leverage the
same interest in thin, portable devices that has driven the tablet
is whether the ultrabooks demonstrated at CES will prove a hit for their manufacturers,
or a tablet-style flame-out.
Kolakowski on Twitter
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.