Archive for category Opinion
ABI reported last week that ultra-portable PCs accounted for 12% of all notebook shipments in 2013, way short of anything Intel wanted to achieve with the Ultrabook segment. It raises questions as we see marketing efforts for Ultrabooks fall. Is this leading-edge notebook segment ever going to be a big seller? If it has good profit margins does it need to be or are we underestimating the impact that the Ultrabook ‘project’ has had on the wider notebook market?
In a report by Bloomberg the Acer CEO is said to have blamed early Ultrabook and touchscreen investments as a mistake. Acer had problems in 2013 as share value dropped following poor sales results. “We need to dig ourselves out of a hole.” Jason Chen said.
This is a story that will bounce around a bit today.
It’s probably more important than the screen – the keyboard – part of the holy trinity of notebook priorites. K-V-M.
I asked the question on Google Plus yesterday – What was your best experience? I got a large number of responses that were fairly varied. That shouldn’t be a surprise as we all type at different angles, weights and with differing requirements for numeric keypads, F&J locating bumps, function keys, pressure, throw, pitch and even noise.
The Ultrabook project has been solely responsible for turning round the PC design and engineering business and by that I mean reducing cost and introducing design flexibility that allows OEMs to respond to changing customer demands. The Ultrabook project forced tighter integration of components on a smaller motherboard, reducing the number of upgradable/serviceable components and removing nearly all electro-mechanical parts. It drastically reduced the thermal energy generated by a typical loaded motherboard and introduced new heat-reduction technology. The combination of small motherboard, fewer options and lower thermals led to convertible and 2-in-1 devices which are set to become the post-PC solution. They offer a dynamic range of usage that beats any other design out there.
Cost is still an issue though and with Baytrail, OEMs can use this new knowledge to build Ultrabook-like products at much lower cost. Where does this leave the Ultrabook?
The Ultrabook platform has proved that you can get power packed productivity in a thin and light package. The high dynamic range of today’s Ultrabooks means that you can go from long life web browsing out and about, to seriously heavy work like Photoshop and video editing at your desk, all on the same device. Using a laptop as a desktop in this way means that connectivity is important — two USB ports simply doesn’t cut it.
Is it for people with bad eyesight? For more ‘impressive’ gaming FPS? Or is it just stupid and cheap?
I’m looking at a newly announced 15.6” Haswell-based Ultrabook, with a 1366×768 screen and shaking my head.
I’ve just fired-up my blogging tools after reading this. Shopping for a laptop has got harder since the Ultrabook launched. Hell, even shopping for an Ultrabook is getting harder now that you’ve got three definitions on the market and devices like the Acer P3 that look like tablets and devices like the Dell Latitude 7000 which might, or might not be an Ultrabook depending on the version you buy! Then there are devices that look like Ultrabooks, but aren’t. The price range of $433 [today] to over $3000 doesn’t help either.
Is ‘Windows’ Microsoft’s biggest problem when it comes to being relevant in a world of computing that’s mobile, fun, social and always-on. The laptop, for example, is still viewed by most people as a place where you work. No social, no gaming and a 5-minute wait until the laptop finishes updating and then tells you that you really should go and find the power adaptor. Heavy, noisy, hot, boring, boring, BORING. ‘Windows’ is largely responsible for this having focused on ‘work’ for much of its lifetime. Adding a new touch layer to ‘Windows’ doesn’t instantly make Windows an exciting operating system, despite the work that Microsoft has put into every layer of that ecosystem. By designing tablets that turn into laptops, however, there’s a better opportunity. Roll with the punch, Microsoft.
AMD Kabini, based on the new Jaguar Cores, is aimed at the ultrabook-alternative segment. Specifically the A4-5000 and A6-5200 are the quad-core parts at 15W and 25W TDP that will compete against Ivy Bridge and Haswell based Ultrabooks and ‘pro-sumer’ tablets in 2013 and 2014. We’re expecting clock-for-clock performance with the quad-core Kabini platforms on par with (dual core) Ivy Bridge Ultrabook platforms but with a slightly better power utilization figure, especially when when the GPU is under load. However, remember that the A4-5000 is running at 1.5Ghz with no Turbo boost. Real-world performance on that part won’t be up to what we see on Ultrabooks that can sustain 2.4Ghz. Will the A6-5200 be better positioned with 2.0Ghz clock?
The first wave of Ultrabooks brought sleek, sexy laptops to the masses. The second wave increased performance and power savings. And now, in the latter half of the second wave, and approaching the third wave, things are getting really interesting. Intel’s Ultrabook project has stimulated the creation of the most exciting laptops in recent memory. They’re calling them Ultrabook Convertibles — and I can’t wait to get one.