Will the Ultrabook live up to Intel's expectations?
Going into 2012, much of the discussion in the technology industry is surrounding the emergence of the Ultrabook™ computer. For some, the super-lightweight, highly portable notebook is expected to bridge the gap between laptops and tablet computers. Others are playing the wait-and-see game, watching what direction Ultrabook manufacturers take their early devices.
Chipmaker Intel® has wagered a lot of time and resources on the Ultrabook's success. After announcing -- and trademarking -- the technology in early 2011, Intel set up a $300 million Ultrabook Fund to promote the development of the next-generation notebook. The company also revealed that it expects the Ultrabook to account for 40 percent of consumer laptop sales in 2012, making an immediate and significant impact on the market.
Others, however, are not so presumptive. Research firm IHS iSuppli, for example, expects the Ultrabook to represent 13 percent of the notebook market in 2012, and to only reach the 40 percent range in 2015.
Much of the Ultrabook's success will depend on what capabilities are brought to the device. Already, near-field communication, touchscreen displays and other innovations have been introduced to some models. But the bar is set high for the Ultrabook, and as a result, manufacturers will have to innovate constantly to keep people interested in an increasingly competitive market.