Today’s Ultrabooks are a bridge between traditional, 4-6 pound laptops and the new age of lightweight machines that can be carried in one hand. Tablets and smart phones are surely behind the push, but it is a welcome one that will likely change how we use our portable computers. The future of the Ultrabook is filled with possibility then as consumers move towards mobility and are less concerned with raw power. Here are some things we can expect to see in 2012 and beyond from the Ultrabook lineup.
Better Battery Performance
With tablets getting upwards of 10 hours or more of battery life, laptops need to rack up the efficiency. Current Ultrabooks get upwards of 6-7 hours of battery life, but the next generation of Ultrabooks will do even better, moving toward the 10 hour mark thanks to Intel’s Ivy Bridge processor – yet to be released but expected very soon. You’ll also see a number of new manufacturers which means more competition and better features across the board.
Windows 8 is expected to be released at the end of 2012 and that means a push toward touch friendly computing not only on tablets, but on PCs as well. Already at CES 2012 we saw swiveling Ultrabooks (without a release date yet) that combined touch screen and traditional interface. The new format will be perfect for Windows 8 which is built around the concept of the dual inputs.
Bigger, Better and Cheaper
Of course, as with any computing device, you’ll always feel one step behind the curve as soon as you buy. Ultrabooks will evolve rapidly and offer more advanced displays (expect 1080p high definition soon), advanced input and output technologies and the price of the entry level models will start to fall. If you’re in the market for a new PC don’t wait this year (now is a perfect time actually as the next lineup is preparing to launch at the end of the year), but in 2013, prices may drop sharply, offering the first $500 Ultrabooks.
Competing with Tablets
When Intel developed the specifications for the Ultrabook and started offering subsidies to companies that built them, the goal was clear – compete with the rise of tablets at all costs. This is a company with chips in billions of machines around the globe and they cannot afford to allow tablets to supplant the laptop market that has increasingly become the bread and butter of PC manufacturers. So, what appears in tablets you can expect to see in Ultrabooks shortly after. Faster processors, brighter screens, sleek aluminum cases, and touch screens all top the list. But, keep an eye out for other possible upgrades – from high resolution webcams to NFC payment technology built into the machine. The Ultrabook is just getting started.