Why Ultrabooks with Touchscreens Do and Don't Make Sense



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Holly, since you don't like clamshells, please put away anything except your 16:10 iPad (wait, iPad is really 4:3 - 1024 * 768) for a week, and see how you like typing on a screen.  As interesting as Siri is, it won't serve you as well as my EasyTouch 101M does.

Everything apple makes except its notebooks and iMacs/powermacs are data consumers, not data creators.  Why?  There is little power (you don't need an i7 to play Angry Birds) and there is no input device (keyboard, mouse).

In terms of screen resolution - the least common denominator now is 1366*768.  The reason everyone has moved to 16:9 screens is because the panel makers are all 16:9.  Unless you have the cash to start a fab, you have to go with what you can buy.  The glass is all planned out to maximize the number of panels per sheet of glass, so you won't have much choice.  I am looking at 3 laptops right now - T42 (1024*768), W500 (1920*1200), and T420 (1600*900) and without question, the W500 screen is the best.  However, it is also 15.4", and has a much thicker panel, which adds to the weight.

Ultrabooks are going to have much more power (some can take high-end i5 or i7), regular HDD when they come back (2.5" 7mm can get you 500GB or even bigger), but not discrete graphics (makes notebooks too thick).

In terms of multitouch, I think it is cool for maps and PDFs, but that's about it.  I don't need multitouch.  If I have a touchpad or trackpoint, why do I need a touchscreen?  I won't pay the $200 or so extra to get it.




I have the Asus transformer tablet with dock. I leave the screen docked about 95% of the time with it sitting on my lap. I use the touchscreen 100% of the time and it it feels so natural. The exception is when I play games like solitaire. 

Whenever I jump on a real laptop, I always touch the screen to navigate and put my fingerprints all over the screen and get so frustrated when I have to use the trackpad. On the smaller screen of the transformer, the touchscreen just feels so right and natural, but on a 15.6 in screen maybe it wouldnt. For the ultrabooks though, touchscreens are a must. Once you get used to it you will never go back. 


Holly Golightly

To me, Ultrabooks do not have a fighting chance against the simplified tablet. First off, that clamshell design. So totally not original! Secondly, thin notebooks have existed since the year 2008. There is nothing really innovative about Ultrabooks.

Anyhow, most mainstream customers can not tell the difference an ultrabook and a notebook computer. At least the NetBook is easy to tell because of its' size. That was revolutionary within itself. But ultrabooks are almost identicle to notebook computers in every way, shape, and form. Nothing revolutionary there.

I am not sure when desktop replacements have started exactly. But I remember hearing that term as early as 2005 when Dell had their XPS gaming line up. So the term "high end" desktop replacement is already old. There is no room in the market for another clamshell form factor.

I feel that adding a touchscreen onto an ultrabook is not really innovative, or useful at that. Because then that means I need to stick my arm up to touch the screen just to browse the web. To me, that will be an uncomfortable browsing experience.

What I recommend is to make ultrabooks stand out in comparison  to the other form factors is that they should make the screen detachable. Sort of like the Asus Transformer. Where the keyboard is used as an extended battery and power source. The keyboard is ideal for long typing like word documents. But for browsing, or reading, I would rather not have the keyboard in my way when it comes to using the touchscreen. As for price, they should sell it for about $800... To me, 4 digit price tags are just not worth it for this form factor since it does not offer anything revolutionary to the mainstream market.

Also, if I were to pay a 4 digit price tag, it better be 16x10 and not the stereotypical 16x9. The customer wants more, not less. This is why the iPad is so successful. For $500, I can get more screen (16x10) I can get more apps (By the millions) and I can more portability. This is why when you make customers choose between a slim tablet verses an ultrabook for double the price, the customer will be more likely to choose the tablet over the ultrabook. My two cents of course.



Very thin notebooks have been around for ten plus years, they just weren't called Ultrabooks.  Very small notebooks have been around just as long, they just weren't called Netbooks. 

Also, I might be misunderstanding you, but are you saying that iOS has millions of more apps than Windows?  If so, iOS doesn't even have a million apps.  It has around half a million.  I do not have a count for how many apps are avilable for Windows, but I assure you it greatly outnumbers what is available for an iPad.


Holly Golightly

When we compare Apple's mobile platform to Windows mobile platform... I am sorry to say, Microsoft does not have a chance. Heck, look at how Windows Mobile 6.5 and Windows Phone 7 did... They always had unwhelming sales and far less apps compared to iOS and Android. 

Windows 8 tablets will be interesting because it will not contain a mobile OS like the iPad or any of the Android Honeycombs. It will have a full computer OS which regular Windows has far more programs than any mobile platform out there. However, knowing Microsoft and Intel, those tablets are going to cost about $1,000.

As far as thin notebooks and netbooks existing more than 10 years... I am sure that they were just concept computers that were poorly executed. Just like the original microsoft tablets of the early 2000s with their swivel keyboard and stylus pen. Great concepts that hardly sold. It took things like the iPad to make tablets mainstream... Believe me, I hate Apple.

I do not know the exact figures of how many apps each platform has... Or how many downloads they have reached. All I know is that these 2 mobile platforms are gaining more attention than Windows 7 right now.



So offer it either way.  Have one with a normal screen for $1,000, and one with a touch screen for like $1,200.  Sell it just like a ram or cpu upgrade within a model lineup as they currently do.

Here's another thought.  Once Win8 is out, make a tablet for it out of an ultrabook.  Set it up so the keyboard slides out from behind the display and then folds under, using an improved mechanism similar to the one on the motorola rizr z8, only folding up to like 85 degrees.  I'm sure moto would sell off that patent fairly cheaply.  Then you can slide the keyboard out and use it like a laptop or slide it in and carry it like a tablet.  It would have a 12" touch screen (1366x768) and be fairly thin thanks to the ultrabook innards.  A company could then charge like $1,500 for it. Market it as a high-end laptop and a tablet all in one.

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