Ng: Tablet, smartphone shift-A A +A
By Wilson Ng
Thursday, July 12, 2012
THE tech industry has seen very fundamental shifts. One of this is that more and more people are now using smartphones. The other is the increase in use of tablets. As I wrote earlier, some research companies have predicted that tablet shipments will overtake notebook shipments by 2016. In that year, they predicted, tablet shipments to reach 416 million while notebook shipments will just be about 393 million.
Of course, the industry has tried to respond, especially the twin leaders of Microsoft and Intel. Microsoft recently introduced Surface, which is actually a mix between a tablet with a keyboard that makes it function almost like a notebook. Other manufacturers like Lenovo have come up with hybrid models, which means these can be used as a Windows notebook but the screen can also be taken off the main unit and used as an Android device.
Of course Intel, the world’s largest microprocessor company powering almost all of the personal computers, also responded, primarily since most tablets and smartphones do not use their processors. So Intel last year funded a big research and marketing campaign with its partner to introduce the ultrabook.
The ultrabook is a high-end notebook designed to compete with the tablet by trying to make sure it gets its best features. A tablet is thin and light, boots fast and has a long battery life. Intel tried to ask its hardware manufacturers to make a notebook that should be less than 2.1 centimeter thick and weigh less than 1.5 kilograms.
It should ideally have at least eight hours of battery life through using low power Intel processors and still having uncompromising performance like booting up in just a couple of seconds.
So far, ultrabooks seemed to be falling short of target. According to most recent reports, only about 500,000 Windows ultrabooks and about a few million Macbooks (also considered as an ultrabook) were shipped in the first half of the year of the 100 million notebooks sold. This means that the market share of ultrabooks remained below 10 percent, far below the 40 percent of the consumer notebook market that Intel had hoped to reach.
I saw a lot of really nice ultrabook models, but I think that what is pulling the market back has been the price. Many ultrabooks are still priced over P30,000, which is well above most notebooks, many of which are now in less than P20,000. Maybe the ultrabook will also need a better OS like Windows 8 before it really takes off.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 13, 2012.