Are you in the market for a new computer or a tablet? And you have heard about Ultrabook PCs, but not quite sure what that really means?
Then you are not alone for the ‘Ultrabook’ moniker is bandied around for just about any small, lightweight computer. Nevertheless there are some rules that apply for a PC to be called an Ultrabook, and as the Windows 8 Operating System is to be launched officially by Microsoft at the end of this month and new Ultrabooks with Windows 8 operating system will also come out for Tablets and for Ultrabooks and PCs generally [as well as phones], it as well to be up with what is happening.
Originally it was Intel the chipmaker that launched a new chip for ‘Ultrabook PCs’ last year, and within 6 months several models of such computers came onto the market. Intel specified an Ultrabook as being no more than 21mm thick when sporting a 14” or larger screen, and no more than 18mm thick for a 13” screen. It should weigh under 1.5kg without loss battery life [the batteries are heavy items] nor should it lose performance as a result of the diet.
The new chip demanded less from the battery so a slightly larger battery was possible extending recharge interval to a minimum of 5 hours. It was also demanded that the time from sleep to running order should take no more than 7 seconds.
What has already happened was a complete change in the market with a significant shift from more conventional Laptop PCs to the thinner, lighter, portables with clearer and sharper screen display, fast start-up and improvements in the security area.
Of course the MacBook Air was most likely the model for Intel, but it was an innovative and untraditional strategy and it worked. And fast. All the large PC producers came up with their versions of early ultrabooks, and now that we are awaiting the ‘Surface’ tablet-PC from Microsoft plus the launch of a multitude of ultrabooks/tablets from many of World’s leading producers one cannot help but wonder whether we are also about to see a price war in the making.
For whilst there are a large number of brands and a bewildering mix of Tablet/Tablet PC/ultrabook with or without keyboards or detachable screens and with or without touch screen the sales generally have not been satisfactory, most likely because of high prices compared to the more mundane laptop.
There is a good chance that we are about to see more ultrabooks with detachable touch screens so that the screen may be used as a lightweight Tablet computer, yet serve as a portable for when you need to do more serious writing and need a keyboard.
So the answer to the question: What is an Ultrabook? is: that it is whatever you want it to be, tablet, tablet-PC, or small laptop cum notebook. Versatility may be the strength of this device.
Lastly, but not least, new processor chips from Intel, codenamed Haswell, apparently more powerful, but using less power, handles graphic better and allows voice and movement control. So there are a lot of things happening out there to look forward to, but also making that choice of a new computer just a little more difficult. Never fear, SeniorNet Kapiti is here. Check out the workshops and the courses, or come to a Q&A session with your questions. They love to help you getting the right answer.
Erik— thank you for another of your clarifications! All this terminology—which is being added to as I type this— makes for a lot of confusion and indecision when it comes to trying to make an informed choice of a replacement for our dated equipment. However, your explanations are usually written so the less-well-informed can understand a little better, and feel more confident in solving a “choice” problem!