In 2011 Intel announced the Ultrabook as a new category of mobile computers. What is the Ultrabook and is it really the game changer that Intel hopes? I will start by pointing out that Intel has put some serious muscle behind this program to ensure its success, to the tune of $300 million dollar fund to help drive this category.
Let’s take a look at the current marketplace for mobile products. Lately tablets, notably dominated by the Apple iPad, have been the rage. The low cost consumer tablet surge, largely responsible for the demise of Netbooks as a major category, has been stronger than could be imagined by the PC market. The consumer (right or wrong) has come to demand sub $500 systems to be the norm; with more system performance each year. This lowered cost of goods can make it difficult for some resellers to get into the game to make even a small and reasonable profit; leaving only the MNCs, big box retail, and e-tailers to gain.
Ultrabook is a New Category
So what is Intel thinking coming to market with a $1000 ultra-thin performance notebook, sporting an SSD, and 14” LCD? Intel is looking to redesign consumer expectations to a higher level of performance that we’d all love to have in our notebooks; combined with a sleek aesthetic that looks like it could have come straight from the Apple design studios in Cupertino.
The creation of the Ultrabook design spec is a strong example of an attempt to bring something to the mobile PC market that has been missing, possibly since its inception, dare we say it? A sexy PC!
Intel has a fun video on the Ultrabook website that outlines the concept nicely.
Photo by Intel
Some of the really cool features and benefits Intel has put into Ultrabook include:
From zero to go, in seconds: Intel Rapid Start Technology
Intel Rapid Start Technology returns your Ultrabook to full operational power within seconds, so you can jump right back into everything you were doing. This ultra-responsive capability gives your device the power to resume in a flash when you’re ready, and ultra-low power consumption when on standby. So you’ll save time and get longer battery life.
Fast-track your favorites: Intel Smart Response Technology
Intel Smart Response Technology quickly recognizes and stores your most frequently used files and applications where you can access them right away. You’ll save time and power with faster access to the content you use and love the most.
Always up-to-date: Intel Smart Connect Technology
With Intel Smart Connect Technology in your Ultrabook, your email, favorite apps, and social networks are continually and automatically updated even when the system is asleep. No more waiting for the latest world news or friends’ updates to be delivered—just lift the lid and you’re up-to-date and ready to go. (Available on select systems.)
Lock down your lost laptop: Intel Anti-Theft Technology
Intel Anti-Theft Technology (Intel AT) is smart security hardware that helps protect your data by disabling your lost or stolen Ultrabook from anywhere in the world. When your Ultrabook is returned, it can be easily reactivated without harm to your data or digital content. (Available as an option on designated Intel Core processor-based Ultrabook devices.)
Peace of mind online: Intel Identity Protection Technology
Intel Identity Protection Technology (Intel IPT) helps protect your identity and assets online by adding a trusted link to your system, your accounts, and your favorite online places. It’s better online identity protection, authenticated by you. (Available only on select Intel-inspired Ultrabook devices featuring 2nd generation Intel Core processors.)
Ultrabook is Thin and Powerful
Interestingly the overall hardware selections and recent market examples align very neatly with current Apple Airbook specs. The Ultrabook platform is thinner than current Netbooks and even encroaches on some tablets, all while offering performance rivaling mid-range desktop PCs, and "all day" battery life.
As Intel has done in the past, they are spearheading efforts with major ODMs to lock down the specs and offer system builder ready kits. This approach of helping regular sized VARs slice a piece of the pie makes the Ultrabook program the "go to" mobile product for the channel.
If you are looking for a mobile product to differentiate your product offerings from the typical black 15.6" rectangle, the Ultrabook is going to offer a game changing set of hardware that should heat things up in the mobile market.
By the way, if you watched the video drop me a note and let me know if you are a cowboy, knight or kung fu fighter?
Ed Stone has worked at Seneca since 2003, during most of this time he was a member of the Channel Sales team. In 2011 he transitioned to the Marketing Department to grow cooperative marketing with Seneca’s vendors. With more than 20 years of experience in the Channel as a VAR and Distribution Salesperson, he has a varied technical background with robust product knowledge.