NEWS ANALYSIS: Ultrabooks are taking aim at both the Apple MacBook Air and iPad, and there's a good chance many folks will find them quite appealing in comparison to those products.
If you haven't heard too much about ultrabooks, expect to be inundated with information about them at the Consumer Electronics Show later this month. Just about every major PC vendor
, including Hewlett-Packard and Acer, is expected to show off ultrabooks at the event, and according to the latest research on the form factor, shipments are likely to explode this year. Furthermore, over the next several years, ultrabook sales will only continue to rise, analysts say.
It won't be long before the vast majority of consumers looking to buy computers this year jump at the chance to buy ultrabooks. From their impressive form factors to their strong performance features, ultrabooks appear well on their way to setting a new standard for PCs
. It's likely they will put some sales pressure on Apple's MacBook Air (and maybe even the iPad) as they vie for the top spot in the mobile computing landscape.
As appealing as the MacBook Air might be, there's a decent chance you'll be buying an ultrabook this year.
Read on to find out why:
1. It's all about mobility
If nothing else, the appeal of ultrabooks is their portability. The devices are designed to have somewhat small screens (don't expect a 17-inch option) and weigh as little as 3.1 pounds. They seem like ideal companions for road warriors and perfect for companies that need employees to travel often. Mobility is becoming increasingly important today, and ultrabooks are capitalizing on that.
2. Increased productivity
Since ultrabooks are lightweight PCs, they will inevitably be compared with tablets. After all, both products are designed to make employees productive while on the go. Unfortunately for tablets, however, ultrabooks will be able to achieve that goal of productivity far more effectively. The devices come with larger screens and boast built-in physical keyboards. As anyone who has tried to work on an iPad knows, that lack of a virtual keyboard out of the box is a major issue.
3. Prices are coming down
The major issue with ultrabooks right now is that they're quite expensive. In fact, it's tough to find one on store shelves for anything less than $800. But over the next year, ultrabook vendors are expected to offer products at lower prices
, which should help them attract more customers. Even better for those vendors, the cheaper their ultrabooks are, the greater the distance between their products and Apple's MacBook Air, which starts $999.
4. Style, style, style
If Apple has taught us anything, it's that a product's design really matters. With ultrabooks, Intel is hoping that vendors will try to deliver on the promise of fine specifications and an even finer design. So far, companies like Acer and Asus have done a relatively good job at delivering that, but this year, more companies will need to follow suit.