Intel's Ultrabooks Are a Bad Idea: 10 Reasons Why

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 2012.

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 couple years.

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 Intel's Ultrabooks.

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 their purchase.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...