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Why Ultrabooks Are Falling Well Short of Intel's Targets

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the not-leveraging-enough-synergies dept.

Intel 513

nk497 writes "When Paul Otellini announced Ultrabooks last year, he predicted they would grab 40% of the laptop market by this year. One analyst firm has said Ultrabooks will only make up 5% of the market this year, slashing its own sales predictions from 22m this year to 10.3m. However, IHS iSuppli said that Ultrabooks have a chance at success if manufacturers get prices down between $600 to $700 — a discount of as much as $400 on the average selling price of the devices — and they could still grab a third of the laptop market by 2016."

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The reason is simple. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532561)

iPad.

Re:The reason is simple. (5, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 years ago | (#41532641)

I'd go as far as to say MacBook Air.

If the price is the same, I'm going with the easy purchase, even if it's just to run Windows/Linux (though I suppose after-market Windows license messes the price some).

They really need good screens though, as someone that wants to actually do work, I want higher res screens, I'm perfectly content to move my face closer to see the details, I want to read full pages in the height of a monitor, I really need at least 900px of height.

Re:The reason is simple. (4, Informative)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41532703)

Running linux on apple products is no longer an easy thing to do.

Many of the products are a fucking bastard to get working well (much harder than similar PC products).

Re:The reason is simple. (0, Redundant)

bobthesungeek76036 (2697689) | about 2 years ago | (#41532739)

Running linux on apple products is no longer an easy thing to do.

Sure it is. One word: Virtualbox

Re:The reason is simple. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532943)

when are people going to realize that virtualization is not the same as running linux on the hardware? There are many situations where you solution won't fix anything.

Re:The reason is simple. (4, Insightful)

atlasdropperofworlds (888683) | about 2 years ago | (#41533043)

VirtualBox, while I love the open source concept, isn't quite as generally stable as something like VMWare. Aside from that, what would be the point of having a OSX/Linux combo? Macports works well enough on OSX. Why not just save a bundle and get a standard laptop to put linux on if you don't need to run OSX software?

Re:The reason is simple. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532743)

It's also hard to install a Yugo drivetrain in a BMW. But it doesn't really matter because, why would you want to?

Re:The reason is simple. (4, Informative)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41533057)

It's also hard to install a Yugo drivetrain in a BMW. But it doesn't really matter because, why would you want to?

Terrible analogy, as it's well understood that the guts of a Macbook aren't necessarily any higher in quality than those of many typical namebrand PC laptops.

Now, the bodyshell of a BMW compared to that of a Yugo... you might have been onto something, if you'd gone that route.

Re:The reason is simple. (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 years ago | (#41532799)

Thanks for the heads up, I had assumed the intelness would of made it super easy.

Re:The reason is simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532857)

It was *never* easy /I remember MacBSD and MkLinux

Re:The reason is simple. (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41533079)

It was *never* easy /I remember MacBSD and MkLinux

I had no absolutely problems running Mint 12 LXDE on either my Macbook 3,1 or a Core Duo-based MB Pro...

Re:The reason is simple. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533129)

It's runs Mac OS X just fine.

Linux must be a crappy operating system.

Re:The reason is simple. (4, Informative)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#41532965)

They really need good screens though, as someone that wants to actually do work, I want higher res screens, I'm perfectly content to move my face closer to see the details, I want to read full pages in the height of a monitor, I really need at least 900px of height.

Actually, the 13" MacBook Air does have 900px of height--it's 1440x900. Kind of interesting, because the 13" MBP is only 1280x800.

Re:The reason is simple. (5, Insightful)

XaXXon (202882) | about 2 years ago | (#41532979)

I don't understand how the crappy pc manufacturers still haven't learned that just because Apple can do it doesn't mean they can try and make a shitty copy and actually sell it.

They've keep trying.. tablets that flop, ultrabooks that flop, all-in-ones that flop..

Over and over they make shitty copies of apple products, price them the same, and then are bewildered when they don't sell.

Re:The reason is simple. (4, Insightful)

Annorax (242484) | about 2 years ago | (#41533135)

You are completely correct.

PC manufacturers are in a constant race to the bottom. They don't value their products, so neither do consumers.

Re:The reason is simple. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533153)

I don't understand how the crappy pc manufacturers still haven't learned that just because Apple can do it doesn't mean they can try and make a shitty copy and actually sell it.

They've keep trying.. tablets that flop, ultrabooks that flop, all-in-ones that flop..

Over and over they make shitty copies of apple products, price them the same, and then are bewildered when they don't sell.

I wouldn't call the nexus 7 a flop. Me and millions of others like it.

Re:The reason is simple. (3, Insightful)

atlasdropperofworlds (888683) | about 2 years ago | (#41533007)

I'd say probably the Tablet. The MacBook air is typically considered an ultrabook, and they've been out for a long time. My understanding from talking to quite a few people is that they understand ultrabooks to be basically low-powered laptops for quite a bit more money, much like a more powerful netbook. I imagine those who really want to reduce weight that much just opt for a tablet. Laptops can be had that are more powerful and are reasonably light ( 6 or 7lbs) for a lot less money.

Re:The reason is simple. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#41533177)

I'm just waiting for netbooks to die. I've used netbooks on and off for 20 years. They just wern't called that until recently, but last year's laptop was a netbook. The current netbooks would be good if they were 50% ultra and 50% net. Instead , they are more an exercise in how cheap you can get hardware. They are weak, cheap, and seem to have deliberately crippled features to not steal sales from the notebooks. Give them a good resolution, and decent stats and sell them as a cheap notebook, not a "cheap" subclass. Apple has it right in that if you appear to value your products, your customers will too. Netbooks embody the race to the bottom where everyone is competing on how cheap they are, not how good.

MacBook Air is not significantly more expensive than the MBP, nor significantly underpowered. It's a medium laptop, optimized for weight and space, like The HP Sojourn http://forums.macnn.com/t/490851/blast-from-the-past-hp-omnibook-sojourn [macnn.com] Oddly enough, the first link in my search was a guy comparing his old Sojourn with a Macbook Air. The only problem was that it was very very fragile and unreliable, and massively expensive. If they had done it right when they did it, it would have owned the ultra-portable market, like the MBA later did.

Re:The reason is simple. (4, Interesting)

smash (1351) | about 2 years ago | (#41533149)

This. The macbook air has a decent trackpad, keyboard and screen. You can get a decent keyboard and something close screen wise on a PC ultrabook but every trackpad I've used so far sucks.

It also looks pretty.

The PC Ultrabook is the same price. For me, its a no brainer. Even if I'm looking for a machine to run Windows on, I'd still buy a Macbook air rather than an Ultrabook PC.

Re:The reason is simple. (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about 2 years ago | (#41532659)

Or people holding off for Windows 8? Or are general consumers are aware that 8 is coming soon?

Re:The reason is simple. (4, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41532707)

I don't think anyone is looking forward to Windows 8 outside Microsoft HQ.

Re:The reason is simple. (1)

atlasdropperofworlds (888683) | about 2 years ago | (#41533091)

I'm ok with the next windows. People bitch and moan about the start interface, which is jarring, as are some of the computer settings apps as they are also metro (or whatever style). As it turns out in the real world (coming from people who actually tried and OS rather than just plain bitch about it), you don't have to see/use those interfaces very often, and there are plenty of improvements that are worthwhile (fast boots, USB install, continuous backup, abstract storage "spaces", better UI elements like the task manager and file copy dialogs, integration with xbox (for those who have one), and a reduced memory footprint. Also it's nice to have bitlocker in the pro version.

Re:The reason is simple. (1)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | about 2 years ago | (#41532755)

Or people holding off for Windows 8? Or are general consumers are aware that 8 is coming soon?

If they were, they'd be buying it now, while they can still get Windows 7.

The upcoming release of Windows 8 isn't something to look forward to, it's something to fear. Especially for a software developer like I am, because I know I can't skip it, at least not at work. I've got to test on it.

Re:The reason is simple. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#41533187)

I already paid for it. $10 for the upgrade. Just waiting for the release to download and burn it so I can install it. It's newer,it has to be better.

Re:The reason is simple. (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#41532667)

Apple : Orange :: iPad : Ultrabook.

Re:The reason is simple. (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#41532947)

iPad.

I agree, that's a big part of it. Plus if you want at clam-shell computer, why not get a regular full powered laptop? What's considered a "laptop" really isn't all that big these days. For work I have a Dell "desk-top replacement" laptop and it's a hell of a lot smaller than what they called a regular laptop just a few years ago. If you want a small thin low powered device, why would you not want an iPad or other tablet over a ultra-thing? Or just a smart-phone for that matter. Hell my current phone has a 4 or 5 inch display and a quad-core in it.

I think I may know the problem... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532587)

...What the hell is an Ultrabook?

Re:I think I may know the problem... (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 2 years ago | (#41532621)

a netbook on steroids. guess they forgot netbooks sold on there price point not there power. they tryed this before and it was a total fail. the overpriced netbooks with good gpus in them etc nobody bought. guess they think giving it a new name will matter.

Re:I think I may know the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532649)

As far as I can tell it's basically a more powerful netbook, which is really just a less powerful laptop.
I guess that makes an ultrabook a laptop.

Re:I think I may know the problem... (4, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41532701)

Apparently, it's a trademarked Intel name, because the article referenced in the summary said:

Devices such as HP's $579 Sleekbook - which runs AMD's chips, so can't be called an Ultrabook

I always thought Ultrabook was a generic term for a more powerful netbook (or a notebook in a smaller formfactor), but apparently it's Intel specific.

Re:I think I may know the problem... (5, Informative)

AnalogDreams (2478696) | about 2 years ago | (#41532821)

That is correct. They have to have certain Intel processors in addition to meeting height, weight, battery and storage performance guidelines.

Re:I think I may know the problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533037)

Thanks, I did not know that.

Re:I think I may know the problem... (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 years ago | (#41533089)

Apparently, it's a trademarked Intel name, because the article referenced in the summary said:

Devices such as HP's $579 Sleekbook - which runs AMD's chips, so can't be called an Ultrabook

I always thought Ultrabook was a generic term for a more powerful netbook (or a notebook in a smaller formfactor), but apparently it's Intel specific.

Its trademarked but used in the same way as generic cola is called Coke, generic paracetamol is called Panadol/Tylenol (depending on which country you live in) and any CPU in the late 90's was called a Pentium regardless of whether it was Intel or AMD. Basically it's just made it's way into popular usage and Intel would be stupid to try to fight it.

Re:I think I may know the problem... (1)

Nutria (679911) | about 2 years ago | (#41533199)

any CPU in the late 90's was called a Pentium regardless of whether it was Intel or AMD.

Not on any of the mailing lists or web pages that I ever visited. Maybe it was an Australian thing?

Re:I think I may know the problem... (2)

Golden_Rider (137548) | about 2 years ago | (#41532861)

Apparently it's supposed to be a smallish laptop, with emphasis on performance(must have SSD, must have good battery life) and small size, which according to the "choose two out of three" rule means it obviously cannot be cheap. Which means that a "non-ultra" laptop with the same performance and a bit more weight/size costs around $600, while the ultrabook costs $1000.

What they did not think of and what now causes the slow sales is that the price makes ultrabooks a LUXURY item. Most people will look at the ultrabook and think "well, it sure looks nice, but here I can get about the same performance at a couple hundred dollars less". Or, if they DO have the money, they will go buy a Macbook, because "Apple" still has higher bragging value than "Asus" or "Samsung".

Re:I think I may know the problem... (4, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | about 2 years ago | (#41532939)

It's what happens when marketing people want to say "MacBook Air clone".

Re:I think I may know the problem... (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#41533237)

... without the Evil.

Re:I think I may know the problem... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#41533235)

That mythical huge profit zone between a new ipad and the classic IBM Thinkpad.

iSuppli ignores recent history (2, Insightful)

Bilestoad (60385) | about 2 years ago | (#41532591)

Funny that Apple sell so many retina MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs when they're the most expensive machines you can buy in those form factors. Could it be that a race to the bottom, cutting corners to reduce costs, ISN'T what people want? What happened with Netbooks again?

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (2)

nesfreak64 (1093307) | about 2 years ago | (#41532613)

Price being a big one also. The Macbook Air sells well, but it's also an Apple machine, people expect to pay highly for it. The last notebook fad was the netbook, an inexpensive, but still fully functional laptop. Ultrabooks are high priced, and their one big feature is being light and thin. With tablets and smartphones (sadly) taking off, is most people going to shell out $800+ for something expensive like an ultrabook?

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (2)

TENTH SHOW JAM (599239) | about 2 years ago | (#41532953)

The other thing is grunt. People don't see the need.

When I buy a device it is to do a range of tasks. I need a portable device to check Email, poke at websites, do some text editing, read books, play music, movies and the odd casual game. Nothing in this list is particularly arduous for most devices. In my static devices I will use them to Edit video, run multimedia libraries, typeset documents, and play more immersive games.

An ultrabook has the CPU and graphics power to achieve the results for all my tasks, but lacks screen size and human interface devices. I am therefore better off with two devices. I am probably not alone with my list of requirements.

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (1)

hazem (472289) | about 2 years ago | (#41533233)

I work like this as well. I'm biking to work and school and need a lightweight computer that will do the basic things I need while I'm not at home. I want something light and cheap so that if it gets broken or stolen, I'm not going to be terribly upset. So for that, a $300 Acer Netbook fills the bill quite nicely. With a Centrino processor, it's actually able run a virtual session with Virtualbox adequately.

For my home computer, I want something with more power and don't mind it being larger. I still got a laptop for this work, but even having an i7 processor, it was under $800. It spends most of its time plugged into my 25" monitor, but it's still portable that if I need to take it somewhere to do more serious work, I can.

I just have trouble imagining taking a $1200 (or even $800) computer and leaving it on a desk at the library or in a classroom while I go to the bathroom (even with a security cable), yet I don't really want to tear-down what I'm doing and carry it into the bathroom either.

But then again, I use my computers for getting things done and I don't really see them as a fashion accessory.

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (3, Interesting)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#41532629)

Funny that Apple sell so many retina MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs when they're the most expensive machines you can buy in those form factors

Nope. Not even close.

When I was shopping for an ultrabook, I found the MacBook Air was quite competitively priced. I wasn't terribly impressed with the competition either -- the Samsung Series 7, for example, is not only more expensive for the same specs, but it's made of plastic!

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (-1, Flamebait)

luther349 (645380) | about 2 years ago | (#41532643)

only apple can massivly overprice there hardware and get away with it

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (2, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#41532679)

only apple can massivly overprice there hardware and get away with it

Great, so you can't read or spell. Thanks for adding such valuable insight to the discussion.

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532759)

I think that what he meant to suggest is that both products are overpriced, but that Samsung isn't going to be able to sell their products that way.

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (3, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41533053)

I think that what he meant to suggest is that both products are overpriced, but that Samsung isn't going to be able to sell their products that way.

I think what he meant to say was: "I hate Apple, do you like me now?"

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (1)

smash (1351) | about 2 years ago | (#41533171)

Which is also wrong. They are priced at what people are willing to pay. If there is no identical machine at a cheaper price, they are at market rate.

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532829)

Not being the parent, I can only thank you in turn for being stupid enough to completely miss the massive amount of irony put into the post you replied to.

Always great entertainment though, watching people kick big holes into thin air. You know what? Sometimes they even land on their ass, looking even dumber.

Thanks, please keep it up.

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (2)

FauxReal (653820) | about 2 years ago | (#41532815)

I agree, I was convinced to shell out the cash for the first time in 2009 after always owning PCs (and a couple free Ataris & 1 free Mac in the 90s).It was definitely more expensive than comparable Win laptops. But I had a good job and low expenses. What got me was that it had a metal case, the multi touch track pad is awesome and it was a reasonably powerful computer. Also, I dj in nightclubs using Serato which happens to be more stable in OS X (it started on the Linux platform but I suppose they switched due to OS market share). I currently dual boot it in Win7 (which I am using at the moment). I also got a small amount of RAM then installed my own after my warranty was up. If I had to gripe about anything at this point it's really mostly the price and sometimes I wanna mess with something that OS X just doesn't allow me to access, but the fact that it's based on BSD has remedied some of those issues.

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (1)

fafaforza (248976) | about 2 years ago | (#41533093)

I've seen so many MacBooks with small dents in them, like a car that had a bad trip to the local shopping mall parking lot.

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (2)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about 2 years ago | (#41532715)

ZenBook is your nearest competitor to the MacBook Air. It's worth going for the Air for its trackpad, ZenBook's is frustratingly inferior.

MacBook Pro (and retina version) and the Mac Pro are competitive for the money too. iMacs are a steal, especially with their IPS screens.

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | about 2 years ago | (#41533145)

You're talking about the first versions of the first gen of ZenBook. The later versions fixed the trackpad issue (and in fact, the new trackpad is arguably better than the airs). The second gens all have the improved trackpad.

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (4, Informative)

pnot (96038) | about 2 years ago | (#41533203)

When I was shopping for an ultrabook, I found the MacBook Air was quite competitively priced. I wasn't terribly impressed with the competition either -- the Samsung Series 7, for example, is not only more expensive for the same specs, but it's made of plastic!

Not that I'm an expert, but as far as I can tell from some brief Googling, the Samsung Series 7 is:

1. Made of metal not plastic,
2. Not an ultrabook,
3. Cheaper than the Air.

Specs appear generally better than the Air since it's a "full" laptop rather than ultrabook. More memory, more pixels, faster CPU, 1TB HDD vs 128GB SSD on Air, and of course thicker and heavier.

I'm basing this largely on specs here [amazon.com] and here [amazon.com] .

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (2, Insightful)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | about 2 years ago | (#41532737)

I wouldn't say they "sell so many" MacBook Pros... Apple is, after all, about 12% of the market in PCs sold (and they have iMacs, Minis, etc.) They did enjoy a bump this year while everyone else declined... (not much of one, but a bump nonetheless.)

http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/24/apple-reports-disappointing-mac-sales-despite-retina-macbook-release-4-million-units-sold-in-q3-2012/ [techcrunch.com]

It seems everyone's facing a crunch. Apple's margins are so high, I doubt they notice. But, this brings up a question... why is the decline in their Mac lineup continuing when it peaked a few years back? I don't know the answer to that. As for netbooks... I like my netbook, but then again, I put Linux on it and upped the RAM (and got a nicer, larger battery)... it works like a champ. Microsoft really poisoned the netbook realm with their artificial restrictions on XP equipped netbooks (only 1 MB of RAM, etc.) I also think the "bandwangoneers" of netbook makers really just saturated the market. Before the netbook, companies were claiming you couldn't make a cheap laptop... Of course Larry Ellison (when he was trying to sell thin clients) famously quipped that there was no way a PC would break the $500 price point. :)

Ultrabooks are a solution looking for a problem. The demographic who will pay that much for a laptop already bleed Apple grey. The rest of us think it's overpriced hype. :)

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (1)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | about 2 years ago | (#41532791)

why is the decline in their Mac lineup continuing when it peaked a few years back? I don't know the answer to that.

That's easy. Macs have useful lives longer than PCs do, and desktops/laptops are in decline while tablets and smartphones are on the rise (consumers buy new mobile devices much more frequently as well).

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 years ago | (#41532855)

Funny, I have useful PCs from when apple was using power processors.

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (1)

smash (1351) | about 2 years ago | (#41533197)

Compare macbook pros sold to say, any other single PC laptop model.

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 2 years ago | (#41532749)

Could it be that a race to the bottom, cutting corners to reduce costs, ISN'T what people want? What happened with Netbooks again?

Except isn't this article saying that they're too expensve and not selling?

And what happened to netbooks is that they got more expensive and the specs stayed the same for multiple years. The manufacturers started adding bells and whistles and pushed the price up into the region of low end (but much more capable) laptops. Maybe they would have been a bigger success if they had focussed on budget. Also willing to concede that tablets ate their market.

(Typed on my eee901... )

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533105)

I question that the reason they aren't selling is that they're too expensive. I say it's because they're full of compromise, crapware and everyone knows they are just copies of the machine they really want.

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (2)

loosescrews (1916996) | about 2 years ago | (#41532795)

I really think that this might be part of it. Most people who want to buy a laptop go to a big electronics store. Those stores usually sell two types of computers. Crappy consumer laptops and Macs. The casing of the Macs is usually built from more expensive materials and manufactured to tighter tolerances giving them a higher quality feel. Sure they cost a lot more, and the user may not be able to do everything they want with it when they get it home, but the first impression in the store is what matters.

The problem isn't that high quality non-Apple computers don't exist. HP and Lenovo both even make nice business ultrabooks under their Elitebook and Thinkpad lines respectively. The problem is that these high-quality products aren't sold at the big electronics store where the consumer went.

Another issue is that even if the hardware is great, a ton of crapware can make even a faster computer with an SSD painfully slow. Apple typically installs less crapware on their computers. I know many of us consider iTunes to be crapware, but some of the software that mainstream computer manufacturers install is much worse. Some business laptops ship without any crapware, and most ship with a lot less. My local Best Buy doesn't sell a single computer that I would use without wiping the hard drive first.

I think that Apple's recent rise in market share has shown that the mainstream computer manufacturers have no clue what consumers want.

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 2 years ago | (#41532933)

Keep in mind Apple's lack of choice.

Let's say you have $999 to spend on a MacBook. You have...oh...one choice: MacBook Air. That's it. You're getting an "Ultrabook," whether you want one or not, because that's the only thing Apple sells for $999. So if you wanted a laptop with more than two USB ports or a DVD drive, you'd better (a) spend more money or (b) suck it up.

Let's say I have $799 to spend on a "laptop" at Dell. You have much more for choices. From full sized laptops with ethernet, more than 1 USB ports, DVD burners, etc. down to little skinny and light Ultrabooks.

So it makes sense for the "price conscious consumer." Apple sells lots of MacBook Airs because they're the cheapest. Dell's sales are split between Ultrabooks and more conventional laptops.

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 2 years ago | (#41533033)

Funny that Apple sell so many retina MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs when they're the most expensive machines you can buy in those form factors. Could it be that a race to the bottom, cutting corners to reduce costs, ISN'T what people want? What happened with Netbooks again?

If PC manufacturers are struggling to knock $4-500 off the price of an UltraBook to bring it into the $6-700 price range, I am having a hard time seeing how the MacBook Air is massively overpriced at $1,199.00. I'll only believe that PC manufacturers can produce something that rivals the MacBook Air, and that has a retail price-tag of $600, when I see it. I know it is fashionable these days to hate Apple but the MacBook Air is actually a quality machine and a feat of engineering. All of the UltraBooks I have seen that were anything like as nice as the MacBook Air, like the ZenBook, were priced very similarly to the MacBook Air.

Re:iSuppli ignores recent history (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533133)

Totally agree with you - I did not say "overpriced" at all! But they are relatively expensive when you look at other choices. Certainly my retina MacBook Pro was, but there is nothing to equal it.

Ultrabook manufacturers need to build the best that can be built, not just copy Apple for less money with all the compromise that comes from having low cost as your primary goal. If they can't make something that is attractive for reasons other than price they should give up now.

Ultrabook's biggest problem: (2)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about 2 years ago | (#41532609)

Lack of on-machine storage.

Most early ultrabooks only had at best 128 GB of SSD memory, which is kind of cutting it close after you load Windows 7 and Office 2010. Why do you think Apple chose to include over 500 GB of SSD memory on some of their new MacBook Pro models?

But now, with SSD technology rapidly improving, I'd say within 18 months you will see "convertible" touchscreen Ultrabooks running Windows 8 Professional with 512 to 1024 GB SSD storage standard with the latest super-efficient Intel "Core" CPU's, and those will definitely be vastly better-selling.

Re:Ultrabook's biggest problem: (1)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | about 2 years ago | (#41532813)

They'll be vastly better, but they won't be vastly better-selling.

Re:Ultrabook's biggest problem: (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 years ago | (#41533161)

But now, with SSD technology rapidly improving, I'd say within 18 months you will see "convertible" touchscreen Ultrabooks running Windows 8 Professional with 512 to 1024 GB SSD storage standard with the latest super-efficient Intel "Core" CPU's, and those will definitely be vastly better-selling.

Dont give up the day job mate, comedy is not your forte.

Windows 8 is DOA, everyone hates it. Gamers wont use it, Businesses wont use it. The average user will hate it. Now if you had of said.

But now, with SSD technology rapidly improving, I'd say within 18 months you will see Ultrabooks running Windows 7 Professional with 256 to 512 GB SSD storage standard with the latest super-efficient Intel "Core" CPU's, and those will definitely be vastly better-selling.

It might be more believable.

First off, touchscreens are gimmicky when you've got a KB and mouse. It's not a question of interface its a question of ergonomics and Gorilla Arm is still a problem if you're using the device for any length of time. Users don't typically use more than 200 GB of storage with Windows + Office. We aren't talking about your gamer or person who torrents everything, I've got a 256 GB SSD in my laptop and I struggle to fill that. I've also got a 512 GB SSD in my gaming box and even with a lot of games I struggle to fill that (although my older, less IO intensive games (think pre 2003) go onto a 300 GB VelociHeater).

You're right in thinking that 128 GB on an SSD is pushing it, but 256 GB is fine for a lot of people. 1 TB SSD's are overkill.

Re:Ultrabook's biggest problem: (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | about 2 years ago | (#41533231)

Uhh... 1 MacBook Pro model. Only the $2800 Retina MacBook Pro has 512GB of ssd. And the only other model to offer an SSD has 256GB.

The airs are 64GB, 2 models with 128GB and 1 model with 256GB.

And Windows 7 and office 2010 will at most take about 15GB, leaving you with 85% of your disk space left on a 128GB model.

Who is the demographic they're aiming for? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532633)

From my experience: people who buy laptops tend to fall into two categories:

A: I want a laptop as cheap as possible that still functions for basic things.

B: I want a laptop that can play 3d games on

From my experience, people would rather buy two 300$ laptops than one slim 600$ laptop.

Re:Who is the demographic they're aiming for? (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 2 years ago | (#41532655)

300$ heh more like 228$ for a aspire one.

Re:Who is the demographic they're aiming for? (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41532689)

Idiot kids who don't mind paying for the cloud

Why would anybody buy an Ultrabook? (1)

luftrofl (1212770) | about 2 years ago | (#41532635)

Compared to a Windows laptop of equal specs, they're much more expensive. Compared to an Apple Macbook Air - they're around the same price, if not more expensive in some cases.

Re:Why would anybody buy an Ultrabook? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 years ago | (#41532757)

Not really, with an Asus Zenbook Prime you can get a faster processor (i7 vs i5) and a better / higher resolution screen (1080p /IPS-- which Im told is supposed to be a Big Deal) for $50 cheaper. If thats "the same price", well, Im still gonna choose the Zenbook.

Do the baseline of each (i5 / 128GB), and the Zenbook is a full $150 cheaper.

Re:Why would anybody buy an Ultrabook? (1, Interesting)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | about 2 years ago | (#41532865)

You're making the same mistake hardware geeks have been making for many years now. The specs on paper may be better but how is the unit's build quality and usability of the OS? The touchpad on the Zenbook is much worse.

It's harder to quantify those things, but this is where Apple got it right and everyone who would ever buy something from newegg.com has it wrong.

Re:Why would anybody buy an Ultrabook? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#41533059)

I can't speak for others, but 1080p on an 11.6" screen sounds next to impossible to read on without magnifying everything. It sounds like a good system, but the apparently lousy trackpad might be a deal-killer if I were in the market.

Re:Why would anybody buy an Ultrabook? (1)

smash (1351) | about 2 years ago | (#41533227)

Have fun lugging that mouse around and finding a surface to use it on whenever you use the machine somewhere on the go.

It's the price, stupid (4, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41532677)

I'm at the point that unless I get the same specs as apple for like half the price i will buy a Mac.

All the crap pc makers lost my trust a long time ago

I spent $1100 on a 13"Mbp last year and the closest pc counterpart was about $1000.

Ultrabooks are just laptops. What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532687)

What the title said.

All laptops will be so-called "Ultrabooks" in a couple of years.

An "Ultrabook" is just a dumb (very dumb!) marketing term for a laptop made with the latest generation of parts. So what if people are buying up old stock rather than new stock. They'll get around to the new stock sooner or later.

And anyway, I was just at a big box electronics store today, and most of the portable computer products on display were regular laptops. It doesn't appear that the distribution has really penetrated deeply yet.

And on a personal note: These "Ultrabooks" look awfully flimsy. If I'm going to drop $1000 on a computer, I'd rather not do so on something which looks like it belongs in the bargain bin. Perception counts for a lot, and thinner isn't always better.

Re:Ultrabooks are just laptops. What's the big dea (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 2 years ago | (#41532753)

i dunno if a ultrabook will ever take over the old laptop desine. if you put a big quad core cpu and a huge gpu in a ultrabook you will have a melted book. they will be in the same line as the slim laptops are the low speck bunch.

Tiny hard disk, limited RAM (1)

djnanite (1979686) | about 2 years ago | (#41532693)

A 256GB HD, 4GB RAM, and a low resolution display just doesn't cut it for brand new hardware these days. It's rare (and expensive!) to find Ultrabooks with better specs than this.

Ultrabooks look nice - but if they're less powerful than my current hardware, why would I want to change?

Semi-Accurate article (3, Interesting)

Guppy (12314) | about 2 years ago | (#41532709)

Hey Charlie [slashdot.org] , if you're on Slashdot, would you like to comment on your blistering excorication [semiaccurate.com] of Ultrabooks?

Re:Semi-Accurate article (1)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | about 2 years ago | (#41532917)

That was a great read... :) What's funny is I think MacBook Pro's are "shiny for the stupid"... but then again, I'm not their target demographic because I hate Starbuck's and don't wear hipster glasses. :)

I think it has been said (elswhere in the discussion) that the stagnation (and Microsoftization) of netbooks caused their premature demise. I expect that people who want a MBP or Air already have enough cash to get one (or a CC with a high limit)... but for the vast majority of the population, they want something they can afford... Netbooks started that way, but went south without a bump up (and artificial restrictions set by Redmond).... *shrug* I still like my netbook. :) But it runs Crunchbang not XP.

it's the screen size, stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532729)

13" is just too small for a laptop display.. I have a thin 15.6" laptop with an ssd (dell xps 15z) and i love it.

Re:it's the screen size, stupid (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 2 years ago | (#41532779)

i still have love for my 7 inch eeepc 900a. and really it still does what i got it for surfing and movies.even with a tablet of the same size and more powerful i still enjoy using it.

It's too bad Intel killed netbooks for this. (4, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | about 2 years ago | (#41532761)

There's a lot of netbook haters out there, and I understand why. Truth is they weren't the right thing for everyone.

I found two great niches for them - children and physically active people on the go.

First of all - children. The first netbook I every bought was one of the 7" eeePC's on that was on Woot.com with a 4GB card SSD. The SSD was so small the included OS couldn't even run its own updates out of the box. I put an ultra small version of Linux and SNES on it (came with a heftier Linux), stuck in a 32 GB SD card - instant portable movie and game machine for my daughter. A couple of years later I upgraded her to a 10" Acer similar to mine and my niece and nephew now have the 7" one. You can fit a lot of movies on a 32 GB SD card if you use the PSP or iPod preset in Handbrake.

Second niche - myself. I bike places, as often as I can. I have a small backpack [target.com] that's big enough to carry my bike tools, a netbook, and some accessories/other crap I need for my commute to work or just about anywhere else. I BMX a lot and I don't like to carry a bunch of extra garbage I don't need. For coffee shop Internet use - including work responsibilities when I'm consulting - every thing I have to do on the road can be done on my 10" Acer Aspire. I've had two chain related failures on my BMXes while this thing was in my backpack, I wound up tumbling down the road both time my little Aspire took the beating better than I did. Sure a tablet fills this niche for most people, but I like a keyboard and mouse. That being said if Google does come out with a Nexus 10 I'll probably get that and use my old mini Apple bluetooth keyboard on it.

I drool over Ultrabooks - I really want one. Fact is they cost too damned much and they won't fit my physically active lifestyle - I would have to switch to a bigger backpack for more than about a 12" screen, maybe a bit bigger but I don't want to push it too much. Intel's greed - not the kind that motivated them to release Ultrabooks but the kind that made them strong arm manufactures into killing netbooks to do it - is a large part of why they aren't taking off well enough.

If they stopped their excessive manipulation and gave control back to the manufacturers they may see a surge in Ultrabook sales.

Re:It's too bad Intel killed netbooks for this. (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 2 years ago | (#41532827)

the 7 inch netbook is a great travel laptop small light gets the job done. even with a tablet that can do simler things its just not the same. you should look at those new amd apu netbooks they smoke a atom in preforance and are still netbooks not priced insane.

Where are my external GPU options? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532823)

I haven't bought a new laptop because I'm holding out for a real external GPU solution. I've seen vilink but it's fairly rare to find a laptop with a PC card slot anymore.

Re:Where are my external GPU options? (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 2 years ago | (#41532845)

ati made one but i think only 1 card was ever released. and it still needed a ext monoter. you do relies many of your gaming laptops can have the internal gpu upgraded they use a mtx slot on the main board they are not soldered on.

Personally I still won't buy one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532835)

When I consider that I have a 4 year old Asus Eee, which cost only $350. Has a replaceable battery, and harddrive and it runs just as good as it did when I first got it. Then think of paying $1,000 for what is in essence a 'disposable laptop' What do these companies /think?/ We're in a depression, people. Where only the rich who can get a new car, every-time their ashtrays are full can get a ultrabook.

Bring back the netbooks, then we'll talk.

Why I won't buy a tablet. Basically it's an expensive toy, and to do any real work on them you need a keyboard. Which makes it what? You guessed it.

An expensive Ultrabook (or laptop).

Re:Personally I still won't buy one (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 2 years ago | (#41532905)

netbooks never left asus still makes aspire one and said they will keep making them its just everybody and there brother has quit flooding the market. and its still the removable battery hdd ram etc style. they tried that with eeepc and the hate they got back from doing it made them quickly drop the style.

I already have a slow chunk of crap (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#41532839)

sure its not as slim or as light, it doesnt have as much battery life, but shit, its cost 40 bucks on ebay, why would I want to spend a pile of money on a obsolete computer no matter how sexy it was?

Seriously? 900 bucks for a 13 inch dell ultrabook? I got a 15.6 inch 2.5ghz i5 with twice the ram and a TB hard drive for 499$ at the dell refurb outlet for my mediocre work computer, and it has one scratch across the windows sticker on the bottom.

Re:I already have a slow chunk of crap (1)

Kittenman (971447) | about 2 years ago | (#41532969)

Seriously? 900 bucks for a 13 inch dell ultrabook? I got a 15.6 inch 2.5ghz i5 with twice the ram and a TB hard drive for 499$ at the dell refurb outlet for my mediocre work computer, and it has one scratch across the windows sticker on the bottom.

Check that scratch carefully - it doesn't say 'Void' does it? :)

Re:I already have a slow chunk of crap (2)

DuranDuran (252246) | about 2 years ago | (#41533111)

Fine if you're happy to lug 15.6" around with you. Me, I need my laptop accessible on my desk, the airline lounge and my airplane seat. And the kilos matter.

Re:I already have a slow chunk of crap (4, Insightful)

fafaforza (248976) | about 2 years ago | (#41533137)

> sure its not as slim or as light

Well, umm, there you go. Small and light costs money. This has been the case for the past 15 years with laptops.

I'll tell you why! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41532867)

It's because the MacBook Air is so good.

The answer is simple, really... (1)

used2win32 (531824) | about 2 years ago | (#41532909)

An Intel Ultrabook circa 2012 is basically a Mac Book Air 2008+

If you were to show ~most~ people a Mac Book Air and then a typical Ultrabook, they could not tell the difference (in the hardware).

Compare with a regular notebook... (2)

jd659 (2730387) | about 2 years ago | (#41533019)

I had to get a laptop a couple of months ago when ultrabooks were getting all the attention (I was replacing my 13 inch laptop). For about $400 got a very nice Lenovo 14-inch laptop with Intel i5 and a DVD ROM. I really wanted a computer to be slimmer and didn't want a DVD drive, but couldn't find it unless I would go with some ultrabook which I seriously considered.

The ultrabooks had:
* Less processing power. In fact, there was no ultrabook at the time to match the power of the mobile i5 processor in a regular notebook.
* Less video connectivity options
* Fewer USB ports
* Worse screen
On a positive side, they were a tiny bit slimmer. Comparing that I could get a slightly thicker laptop without any of those issues for less than half of the price of ultrabook, so I went with a regular 14 inch notebook and installed SSD drive in it. It beats any ultrabook in terms of performance and connectivity and yes, for LESS THAN HALF of the price of ultrabook. No surprises here that they are not selling.

Tablets killed ultrabook or netbooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533027)

Average Android tablet going price $200 and provides the same mobility features that most users care for check/respond to emails, surf the web, read ebooks magazines and entertain ( games, movies, news etc). It is a rich satisfying eco system at a price point that is affordable.

Price. (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | about 2 years ago | (#41533195)

People pay a premium for Macs because they are well marketed and "pretty."

PCs have to be budget machines in comparison, and they will make up on the numbers game. If I am looking at a $1200 Ultrabook or a $1200 MBA, and the MBA has better specs... why the hell would I go to an Ultrabook when I can put Windows on my MBA and have it run just as well, in a prettier package?

The benefit of undercutting on price is that if Microsoft can convince people that Windows 8 is better than OSX, they have a very valuable proposition for retaking some of those they lost. I'm not saying they will... but it's a game they can play. If only Windows 8 was better than it is... I mean, I like it in terms of Metro but it's very jarring between that and the untouched "desktop" interface. They really could have done a better job. Maybe Windows 9?

notebooks, mobile devices, macs, and 'ultrabooks' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41533221)

1) can someone define what an ultrabook is in terms that the average consumer can understand?
2) has anyone else noticed that 90% of the computer users in the world use it only to web-surf, watch videos, or listen to music?
3) has anyone else noticed that mobile phones facilitate web communication for 90% of typical consumers?

i may be exaggerating a bit with those 90% figures, but it seems bleedingly painfully obvious that an ultrabook is neither a particularly defined niche nor revolutionary in anyway.

there IS a market for a high-end notebook (creative types), but Apple has (had?) it cornered due to the presence of certain software like Logic and Final Cut.
(they HAVE taken this market for granted and began to piss it away, however, with their "we make devices and mac users can fuck off and start acting like mobile phone users" aka loss of firewire, app store, lion, etc...)

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