Ultrabook Rules

Casey Johnston for Ars on all the new ultrabooks that were announced:

But the new Ultrabooks, meant to be PC competitors to the MacBook Air, seemed suspiciously fat. And heavy. And lacking in solid-state drives.

That too me is anything but an ultrabook. Johnston goes on to state the rules (made by Intel) for calling your PC an ultrabook:

Intel’s official requirements for Ultrabooks are as follows: each model must have a configuration that falls below a $1,000 price point, notebooks with screens smaller than 14 inches must be thinner than 18 millimeters (14-inch-plus screen notebooks can be as thick as 21 millimeters), they must wake from hibernation in no more than 7 seconds, and they must have a minimum 5 hours of battery life, as measured by MobileMark 2007.

For comparison the MacBook Air’s 13″ model is 17mm at its thickest and weighs just 2.96lbs with a 7 hour battery life. It’s clear to me that Intel wants “ultrabook” to be defined as “a MacBook Air”, but what’s also clear (to everyone) is that PC manufacturers will do what ever they need to be able use a trendy new name.

In other words: PC manufacturers don’t have their heart in the ultrabook game.

They don’t care to make a MacBook Air.

They just want to sell more computers.

And the easiest route to sell more computers is to go with the minimally accepted specifications to make a product fit into a “hot” new product category — which right now is tablets and ultrabooks.

And they wonder why their sales are tanking.

I actually wonder when the last time a computer manufacturer, not named Apple, gave a damn about making a computer that made lives easier. Think about it: they don’t make the software, just the hardware — and yet that’s the part that seems like utter crap.

To put it another way: if Apple hadn’t made version 2 of the MacBook Air a wild success, would any other PC manufacturer care to try and make a competing product — one that Intel is begging them to make?

I doubt it. And that’s the problem.

Originally posted for members on: January 23, 2012
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