Intel predicts 2012 as the year of the ‘ultrabooks’

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By Alexander Villafania

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA – Even with the emergence of tablet PCs Intel says laptops will go through some sort of a transformation into an emerging segment called  ‘ultrabooks’.

Ultrabooks are thin and light laptops that do just about all of the things that a regular notebook PC can do, and a few more.

In fact, Intel is banking on the ultrabooks, saying that 40 percent of mobile devices will be ultrabooks by the end of 2012.

It is not that tablet PCs and smartphones won’t have a place in the overall scheme in creating content, but ultrabooks will become the more preferred multimedia creating platform.

Instead, ultrabooks will provide the what Intel identifies as the “road warrior” a tool to create content that is physically light and performs better than today’s laptops.

By definition, ultrabooks have at least double the computing power of laptops but are nearly half the weight and thickness (less than an inch). These would also consume less battery life and can run without being plugged in for at least 6 hours.

Despite being thinner, ultrabooks would still have all the bells and whistles of a laptop such as optical drives, USB ports (a USB version 3.0 will be integrated), mini-HDMI,

Of course, following Intel’s definition, ultrabooks have to be powered by Intel’s latest processors, particularly the second generation Intel Core i5 or i7 “Sandy Bridge” processors.

Later ultrabooks will be powered by the processors with an all-new 22 nanometer processor architecture codenamed “Ivy Bridge,” which would arrive by next year.

In a press briefing, Intel Microelectronics Philippines Country Manager Ricky Banaag said that ultrabooks were built with “the consumer in mind” as many of the new technologies incorporated into the early ultrabook models were based on market demands.

“They wanted more processing power, at less the weight and size, and can run much longer. With these, the ultrabooks were born and we see more developments coming in for the ultrabooks in the future,” Banaag said.

In the Philippines where majority of users still prioritize cost over performance (which explains the popularity of netbooks) ultrabooks are still seen as expensive replacements. In fact, most of the early ultrabook models are still above the P50,000 range, some going up to P70,000.

Still, Banaag stressed that other factors would come into play that would bring ultrabooks down to a level that is closer to most buyers’ budgets. “Economies of scale will play a factor especially when more PC brands start introducing their own models,” he said.

Netbooks, on the other hand, would continue to enjoy some level of success in the Philippines, especially in areas where PCs remain as aspirations rather than necessity. In most cases, first time PC buyers would purchase a netbook first before moving to laptops that have much larger screen real estate.

Intel Philippines showed some of the roadmaps they have for all their processors, including the Atom that has dominated the netbook business for years. In it, the company showed that the Atom will continue to have a long lifespan, extending towards 2013.

The Atom will also start being seen in other non-PC devices specifically Internet-enabled TVs, tablet devices, and smartphones, especially when the next iteration of the Atom, codenamed “Medfield,” appears in the first half of 2012. From here on, Intel will finally get itself into everyone’s device.

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Tarmanian says:

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