Ultrabooks Challenge MacBook Air on Price, Features

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-01-04 Print this article Print


5. You'll have few other choices

It's quickly becoming clear as CES approaches that the vast majority of PC vendors are ready to focus much of their mobile efforts on ultrabooks. Over time, consumers hoping to find alternatives to the lightweight notebooks might find that the larger options become harder to find. In other words, you might have no choice but to buy ultrabooks this year. They might just be the only desirable laptop-style PCs on the market.

6. Outstanding battery life

As with any portable computer, ultrabooks can only be successful if they come with solid battery life. One of the key features a device must have to be called an ultrabook is a battery life that lasts for at least 5 hours on a single charge. That's nothing to scoff at. And over time, Intel hopes to improve technology to increase battery lives even further.

7. You won't want to pay for a MacBook Air

As noted, the MacBook Air is an expensive proposition for consumers hoping to get their hands on a portable PC. The device starts at $999, and that option only comes with 64GB of storage and an 11-inch screen. A more desirable 13-inch model will set customers back $1,299. Given the economy, consumers might not want to spend that much on a less-powerful computer, and they might quickly find that the ultrabook is their best bet.

8. They're not netbooks

Oddly, comparisons have been drawn between ultrabooks and netbooks, with critics saying that the former could very well end up a loser like the latter. But that's an unfair comparison. Netbooks were cannibalized by tablets because they didn't offer power or any specs that would make them desirable to consumers searching for something unique. Ultrabooks are much different. They deliver on the promise of replacing both tablets and lightweight notebooks.

9. They'll be running Windows 8 (eventually)

Microsoft is expected to launch Windows 8 this year. And when it does so, the operating system will be launching on ultrabooks. That's an important development. Windows 8 will be the operating system toward the end of the year that consumers are going to want to buy. Windows 7 is well on its way to obsolescence. So, when consumers hit the stores, they'll first look for Windows 8. Once they find that, they're going to want the best option for the best price. And as long as Intel can follow its strategy, there's a good chance ultrabooks can reign supreme on store shelves when that happens.

10. You'll get a taste at work

As CIOs start planning their product purchases for this year, there's a good chance ultrabooks will be on their lists. The lightweight computers will be cheap enough for companies, and they'll come with the mobility companies are after. The nice thing for consumers is that they'll have a chance to try out those products before they buy one themselves. And once they do try them out, they might just buy one for the home. Make no mistake: The workplace will be a key reason ultrabooks gain popularity this year.

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Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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