Intel’s ultrabook reference specification for lean portable computers has spawned a revival in portable computing.
Originally developed to counter the initial popularity of Apple’s Mac Book Air, portable computer makers are now using the specification as a guide for portables with 14-inch, or larger, screens and other features not included in Intel’s reference design for 11 and 13-inch screen portables with long battery life.
The net effect of the popularity of ultrabooks has been increased sales of affordable portables and an initial willingness of laptop design teams to update the languishing convertible portable or factor.
Proof of this includes Lenovo’s stunning Yoga or Asus’ Transformer product lines, both of which are benchmark platforms for convertible computers.
But the ultrabook spec has also produced beneficial side effects in peripheral devices. The cost of Solid State storage devices (SSDs), which reduce boot up times from scores of seconds to double digit, or lower, times have plummeted to the point where some outlets now offer 256GB SSDs in the $100 range. DDR memory modules are now so inexpensive that many ultrabook users can easily afford to equip their portables with 8GB or more memory, thusly improving the performance of any portable with Windows 8 or other touch interfaces.
Another great example of the ultrabook specification shaping the overall future of portable computers can be found in new select 15- and 17-inch portables that reduce the carry load of users without significant penalties in battery life or functionality.
Additionally, the price of portable computers has also been influenced by the Intel ultrabook spec.
While some PC makers have used Apples MacBook Air as a price reference, Companies such as Acer and Asus established entry-level pricing well below $1,000 and appear to be using a similar pricing model for new conventional portables.
Look to the skies, Intel’s ultrabook spec is driving a new generation of rugged, high performance, inexpensive portables with long battery lives and extreme portability.—Jim
Forbes on July 27,1013