As one of the biggest global trade shows of new technologies, CeBIT is divided into two parts, seen from the visitors’ perspective – one intended for business users, which is dominated by cloud computing-associated services and the other dedicated to end-customers, where specific devices can be seen and tested.
This year, these consumer segments of CeBIT are dominated by ultrabooks. As the Hannover show is no longer a place where spectacular premiers of new products take place, as it once was the case, this makes the number of newly revealed ultrabooks here rather low, however, nearly all models launched in the past two months (most were revealed at CES in Las Vegas) – are here. Intel, as a company which stands behind the ultrabook concept from the aspect of the initial idea, technology and, above all, finances, attracts the most attention from visitors at this part of the show with an exceptionally vast exhibition area taking up half of one of the biggest pavilions.
Intel’s booth is designed in such a manner that each ultrabook manufacturer has been given a certain amount of space to present their current models, irrelevant of the fact to what extent the specifications of these computers actually match the specifications that Intel declares in order for a device to be called an ultrabook. Thus, I had the opportunity of trying the HP Envy 14 Spectre, Dell XPS 13, Lenovo IdeaPad U410, and the Acer Aspire S5 and many other most attractive and popular ultrabooks. What is most interesting about this type of presence is that visitors can converse with product managers from all these companies (who are in charge of placing the ultrabooks on the market) regarding their future plans regarding this new computer market segment.
Almost everybody agrees about one thing – they are planning to reclaim the part of the computer market profit which was taken over by tablet manufacturers. They are planning to do so by making ultrabooks more useful, practical and reasonable price-wise than when it comes to the tablets. In time when the new iPad is being launched, which has the users’ eyes glued to it, this seems to be the hardest business mission of the computer market. Still, the fact that new ultrabook models rival tablets with their mass, battery life and price and are more advanced when it comes to their processor power, resolution and display size, the strategy seem to be a good one.
In order for this strategy to actually work, as Lenovo and Asus representatives told me, they are planning to launch more devices on the market like the Transformer Prime or Yoga, which were envisioned as hybrids of notebooks and tablets, but fit in the utrabook concept with their specifications.
Product managers at Dell, however, see a different path – relying on a modern operating system, like Windows 8. Such an operating system, which was designed to offer equal user experience on tablets and notebooks, is necessary to converge the market of these two types of devices and to rival Apple’s MacBook Air, given the fact that the Apple ultra slim computer already has an operating system that offers nearly identical experience as the iPad does.
Fujitsu is the only manufacturer that has presented new ultrabook models at CeBIT (these are the company’s first ultrabooks) and its representatives believe that one of the best market concepts for the sale of notebooks is in question, adding that nearly all notebook owners will have an ultrabook, sooner or later. They see warranty in the fact that Intel is behind it all, which has the money, power and influence necessary to lead such a market.
Fujitsu, Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo and HP fully support Intel in this. What’s more, the production of slim and light notebooks has always been something they have strived towards, I was told at the Intel booth. Some of them have been offering notebooks lighter than 1.5 kilos (3.3 lbs) for over ten years. The users are looking for such features more and more and this is precisely why they believe it is great that Intel is now directing the market and affecting the masses. In a few years’ time, they agree, there will be no notebooks heavier than two kilos apart from mobile workstations or desktop replacements.
Be sure to take a look at some of our other CeBIT 2012 coverage: