The folks over at Lenovo have been busy unwrapping a bunch of new notebook models for its business customers, and two of the more interesting units are the new ThinkPad X1 Hybrid and ThinkPad T430u Ultrabook. Both will be demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week before shipping off to retail later this year.
Last month, Samsung launched an ultrabook under the Series 5 brand in its home market of South Korea. The company, however, has remained tightlipped on any plans for a U.S. release of the Series 5 ultrabook. Thanks to a couple of premature pre-order listings on online retailer J&R, we now know the price of both models.
From what we've been seeing and hearing so far, this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is going to serve a heavy dose of Ultrabooks to attendees and could emerge as the prevailing theme, much in the same way 3D dominated last year's show. Hewlett-Packard is getting a head start and has released a short teaser video of its upcoming Spectre Ultrabook, presenting it as if it's going to be the Holy Grail of laptops.
We're not out to make a mountain out of a mole hill, but it's interesting on a number of levels that a chip giant like Intel would cut down the tablet market in order to promote its own Ultrabook form factor. It's interesting because Intel doesn't typically diss on form factors, and also because the Santa Clara chip maker would love to challenge ARM on what's become its home turf, and in fact will make a serious run at slates later this year.
Being a technology enthusiast sometimes feels like a series of tradeoffs. Want a balls-to-the-wall gaming notebook? Be prepared to sacrifice portability and battery life. Looking for an ultra-slim laptop you can toss in your bag and hardly know it's there? Intel's new Ultrabook form factor has your name written all over it, but only if you can be content with an 11-inch or 13-inch screen. Acer's about to change that.
Apple currently owns the tablet market. Diehard Windows fans know it, Amazon knows it, and anyone with a basic understand of numbers knows it. That doesn't mean the iPad 2 is the best tablet on the market, though it's certainly arguable. It just means that in terms of market share, Apple is to the tablet market as Microsoft is to the browser scene. Should PC manufactures concede defeat and move on to other form factors, like Intel's Ultrabook and AMD's ultra-whatever?
It’s always nice to set goals as long as they are reasonable, for what are goals devoid of reason but mere dreams. Take for instance, Intel’s widely publicized goal of helping ultrabooks capture 40 percent of the laptop market by the end of next year. Most analysts seem to be of the opinion that Intel is hoping for too much too soon. Mark Moskowitz, Executive Director at J.P. Morgan, is the latest analyst to cast doubts over the viability of this goal.
Even though ultrabooks have managed very little in the two months that they have been around, chipmaker Intel and its PC vendor chums remain hopeful. And to be fair they are right in doing so as there is still a long way to go before we can start judging the category. While most people feel that the category could do with better specs and pricing, there are those who believe ultrabooks with touchscreens are all that is needed for a turnaround.
Reports are popping up all over the Web saying AMD is working on an Ultrabook concept of its own, an ultra-thin and light form factor just like Intel's, but obviously built around AMD's own platforms. It was even reported AMD had picked out a name for its new form factor -- 'Ultrathins' -- but don't go calling them that, AMD apparently has something else in mind.
Initial Ultrabook prices crossed the $1,000 line Intel tried to draw in the sand, and it's only recently that we've begun to see some lower priced models. But easily the least expensive Ultrabook on the market right now is Toshiba's Portégé Z835-P330, a Best Buy exclusive currently on sale for a penny shy of $700. Compare that to Apple's least expensive 13-inch MacBook Air ($1,299) and you have to like the direction Ultrabooks are going.