Ultrabooks to feature prominently at CES
Tablets were the name of the game at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but this year it's all about the Ultrabook. The super-thin device, which is more powerful than a netbook and comes with longer battery life than a laptop, is expected to make a splash at the show, which opens next week.
The Ultrabook buzz is driven in large part by Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), which trademarked the name and has been working with several manufacturers, including Toshiba, Asus and Acer, to promote the "ultra responsive, ultra sleek" devices. Intel announced that it will highlight Ultrabooks throughout CES.
Manufacturers hope that Ultrabooks will borrow the "cool" factor of Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) MacBook Air, particularly because they are considerably more expensive than tablets. Acer's Aspire S3 Ultrabook starts at $899, HP's Folio 13 is priced at about $900, and Toshiba's low-end Ultrabook costs around $800, reports The Wall Street Journal. More than 60 designs are expected to be unveiled in 2012, and a multitude of vendors, including Dell and Lenovo, are planning to show off their versions at the show.
Research firm Techaisle predicts that small and mid-sized businesses will purchase a minimum of 3.6 million ultra-thin devices this year. Seen as cooler than tablets, Ultrabooks are considered appealing to SMBs despite the price point.
Meanwhile, the latest version of the most famous tablet, the iPad 3, is not expected to be seen at CES, which is famously being keynoted by Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) for the last time this year.