Should You Wait To Get An Ultrabook?14 Dec 2011
The Ultrabook revolution?
Ultrabooks are the new range of ultraportable laptops that has been envisaged by Intel, to provide users with a device that combines the features such as the functionality and portability of both tablets and laptops. The new device, in addition to being attractively designed, is intended to be highly portable - coming in a thin and light form factor, and having a battery life that is higher than what is expected of mainstream laptops - and powerful - with features such as low voltage processors, that are still way more powerful than the kind found on netbooks. The specs outlined by Intel for Ultrabook's can be found on the chip maker's blog.
Intel had initially announced the Ultrabook - an Intel trademark name - initiative back in May of this year, where they said that this new category would account for 40 percent of global notebook sales in the upcoming year. To backup high expectations, Intel reportedly has a US$300 million fund for aiding PC manufacturers in developing Ultrabooks.
One of the reasons why ultrabooks have not been that widely received is the pricing regimen that is seen on the current crop of Ultrabooks. They were supposed to be sold in the sub-US$1000 category, although this expectation has yet to be met by a number of PC manufacturers. So have the markets shown a correspondingly positive response from consumers towards buying this product?
Upto the current point in time, the response from consumers, understandably, has been rather sluggish - as per IHS iSuppli, ultrabook sales for this year will make up just 2% of all notebook sales. This is not surprising as the initial introductory period will always be quite testing for most new products in the market, and Ultrabook's are no different.
Below we look at some of the reasons why buying an ultrabook at a later date is the best option
Established a Good Base Standard
The initial impetus for PC manufacturers to opt for producing Ultrabooks was the positive reception of Apple's Macbook Air unit. And from what we have seen - in units such as the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s - in terms of design and performance, today's crop of ultrabooks has achieved a very good standard that is on par with what Apple achieved with its MacBook Air. So while there might not be too many takers for the ultrabook right now, having set such a good base standard, the demand for and curiosity about how this device will perform in the years to come will surely accelerate. In-fact Ultrabook sales are expected to reach 136.5 billion, making up 43% of notebook sales, in 2015 as per IHS iSuppli.
While at the current point in time, the pricing of ultrabooks might seem a tad bit on the higher end, do keep in mind that as more and more manufacturers enter this space, the prices for the ultrabook will decrease over time. Moreover, current manufacturers of ultrabooks such as Acer, have stated that they expect Ultrabook's to cost around $800 to $900 dollars by mid 2012, with the prices falling to almost $500 by 2013. Moreover, taking into consideration how rapidly technology develops, with new hardware on the horizon, such as Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge processors, the price of current generation ultrabooks will definitely come down.
The reduction of prices will have a huge impact in making the ultrabook more accessible to the public.
At the time of writing this article, Ultrabooks already come with pretty powerful specs - low voltage Sandy Bridge processors, and SSD's. But they are expected to get even more powerful, coming with features such as better graphics capabilities using Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge processor. If rumours are to be believed, even full HD screens and even touchscreens that swivel and slide out - with the advent of Windows 8, the last feature makes sense. Consequently, handling heavy multi tasks shouldn't pose a problem for these units. For reference sake, you can do most of what you do on a laptop on your Ultrabook, save for activities like high end gaming and other highly graphics intensive work.
Moreover in terms of connectivity options today's ultrabooks already come with handy USB 3.0 and HDMI ports which are visibly absent from the Apple MacBook Air. As per Intel's plans even Thunderbolt ports may be making an appearance on Ultrabooks - though how successful this particular inclusion will be dependant on whether at that point of time there are enough third party devices that support this new technology.
With the advent of new technology, Ultrabooks will become all the more versatile, making them all the more attractive to consumers.
At the end of the day, one is going to opt for buying an ultrabook because you want to be able to conveniently work while on the move - without having to frequently look for a power outlet - on a device that is both powerful and yet very portable. If you want to merely browse the net, and just need some very basic productivity needs met, you are better off going with a much cheaper netbook.
While the momentum for ultrabooks is slowly building up, buying an ultrabook right now might not be that advisable. If you are not a user prone t experimenting with the latest products, waiting till mid 2012 is the best option, when with right combination of new hardware - including more connectivity and storage options - and reduced prices, will leave you with ample reason to buy these portable, powerful, elegantly designed machines.