back to article Sub-£400 svelte lappies hurled in Ultrabook preemptive strike

Taiwan-based laptop vendors are planning a push in the second quarter to fill what they see as a gap in the market for cheaper ‘Ultrabook-style’ machines before Intel’s Ivy Bridge rollout makes the real thing more affordable. Tech manufacturing rag Digitimes claims that the vendors are likely to use cheaper components in order …

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Will they all still look like a cheap rip-off of a Macbook Air?

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Mushroom

s/cheap/correctly priced/

There certainly is a rip-off going on, but not the one you suggest.....

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"“All notebooks in five years’ time will look like Ultrabooks; it’s just the way things are going,” report author Daniel Ashdown told The Reg at the time."

Really?

He can't see any use cases for any other format?

Personally I like my serial port, it's useful for a variety of things which aren't going to change, I like having an optical drive in some machines. If I don't need those, then I'll get a tablet (at the moment a transformer)

Most maybe - but I doubt all

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Should disqualify him from management

It's simply stupid that you will be able to compete if you sell the same product as everyone else.

If your products are different, there will be people buying them and then you are not just a "second source" to some other company.

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you do know about USB serial adaptors I suppose? Likewise serial DVD drives

Perfectly ok for the mere occasional use that's most likely these days

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I know about serial USB adapters and having experienced them I still specify a proper serial port on my laptops. Some devices, in my experience, just don't play nicely when going via USB

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+1

I agree. Not to mention the extra loose bits and pieces you end up having to carry as extras - those extras that weigh more (with extra cases, chipset, cables etc), are more fragile than an integrated equivalent and less convenient to use. Power supplies are nuisance enough.

Sure, if you don't need these devices, a net/ultrabook type machine is lovely - my kids netbook and wife's Macbook air are lovely. They don't work in IT, using serial cables onto SANs, switches etc, burning the odd DVD-ROM etc....

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JDX
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Some people probably still like floppy drives, but they're s small a minority they aren't really catered for. Optical drives seem bound to go the same way...

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I have to agree, Serial ports are still needed. I can get by without an optical drive but the only worthwhile device I found when dealing with serial over another port was a Lantronix MSS4. Great kit but not what I want in my laptop bag just to work on the kit I need to deal with. Something about over usb seems to make it a pain, It may work but will eventually mess up is my experience.

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Pint

Not that easy finding machines with serial or parallel ports these days, where I work we have a few guys who have obscure old kit which requires serial and parallel ports. For the majority of the time a USB to Serial adaptor will work okay but to get round the missing parallel ports (on Lenovo T510/T520 notebooks) we've had to revert to getting an ExpressCard to Parallel port adaptor. It's not pretty but it does the job and I understand there is a serial version available too (I believe StarTech make them).

I'm looking at replacing my 4 year old notebook sometime this year, as much as I like the Ultrabooks that PC World have in stock (coupe of Asus, Toshiba and Acer models) they still seem a bit too pricey for my budget so maybe one of these cheaper machines might be just what I'm looking for (unless the prices drop considerably when the Ivy Bridge chips come out or when some of the manufacturers release some machines with AMD APUs).

Beer icon because I really do have a craving for a cold pint of beer at the moment (yep, it's been one of those mornings).

Rob

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Anonymous Coward

They'll make no money

Even Asus are saying they'll loose out at that price point. So make make crappy machines that no one wants?

http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/6/2850436/acer-ultrabook-price-unsustainable

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Anonymous Coward

Ultrabook?

Who cares!?! Where is my decent sub-£200 netbook ya bassas!

And no, I don't want to pay the Windows tax. Supply it naked, please.

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Re: Ultrabook?

Did anyone else notice the "Small Cheap Computer" died out when they dropped the Cheap part?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ultrabook?

You'll get Raspberry Pie and be thankful!

The product you want exists only in your imagination

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Metal Casing? In the spec?

I didn't think Intel mandated a metal casing. Doesn't Dell's Ultrabook (XPS 13) have a Carbon fibre case?

Of course, Carbon Fibre is probably one of the few materials worse than Aluminium for impact performance - Alu dents out of shape, but CF shatters.

I want to see an ultrabook with a machined polycabonate unibody like the Nokia N9's (or Lumia 800/900). The tactile benefits of Aluminium, but with better Wifi performance, and if it drops, it'll bounce. (Plus you can make it in any colour)

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Re: 'Re Metal Casing?'

You wouldn't machine polycarbonate- you would mould it. Injection moulded plastic parts can have high detail and sharp radii, cast aluminium parts can't - hence Apple's decision to CNC machine their Macbook 'unibodies'. Injection moulding time: 10 seconds. Machining time?- many minutes.

Carbon fibre doesn't shatter if used appropriately - look at the 'blades' used by amputee athletes for an extreme example of this. It is abrasion resistance that is CF's weak point, traditionally. Carbon Fibre is better than aluminium when WiFi etc antennas are used.

Aluminium works well as a heat sink, unlike plastics or composites.

Aluminium scuffs and dents, so most anodised finishes will eventually look shabby. The manufacturer doesn't normally mind- after a year the customer might eye-up the new shiny-shiny in the showroom. This is probably why we don't see the very hard wearing Titanium Nitride (drill bits, bicycle cogs etc) used instead- usually a very gold finish, can be dark grey or iridescent.

--------------------------------------------

Ideally, I would like a laptop/ultrabook/whatever with its own integrated (poss. neoprene) carry case. Plonk it down, open it up, start working.

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Re: 'Re Metal Casing?'

Nokia do machine the cases for the N9, N800 and N900 out of injection-moulded blanks made of the polycarbonate material. The reason they gave was that it allows a much tighter tolerances on the the metal and glass inserts and the main body of the casework than if they'd injection moulded the cases.

This video shows the process at 0'25": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwoGxrLZlAk

Sure, a simple moulding would be quicker and cheaper, but the results of the machining process are pretty spectacular when you hold these phones in your hand - the finish is flawless, with no swirls or rough edges anywhere.. In contrast, the non-functioning Lumia mockups in phone shops actually are injection-moulded, so it's easy to see the difference.

The other problem I found from my days owing an Al MacBook was that the shiny stainless steel screws would fall out of it - the thermal expansion of the case didn't match that of the screws, and they'd gradually work loose.

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PTR

If people want an ultrabook light, then buy an HP DM1, and install an SSD in it. I just did. 24s to boot from cold, then a further 13s to your browser homepage. £370 well spent imo.

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Ultrakill courtesy of Apple?

Could it be that Ultrabooks chipsets were priced extortionately high in order to keep Apple happy?

Damned if you do, damned if you don't so they say.

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Re: Ultrakill courtesy of Apple?

If Intel was keeping prices high for that reason, I’m not sure why they were at the same time, calling on manufacturers to produce ultrabooks that would sell under the $1,000 price mark.

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Anonymous Coward

Few want an Ultrabook

Too expensive and underpowered bling isn't selling.

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Unhappy

"carfully crafted"

Or rather carefully "crufted"

As in full of s**t.

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Meh

I never seem to use middle-range size/weight laptops....

95% of the time, I use either a big-ass desktop replacement -- physically large, hi-res screen, multi-core CPU, eSATA, ExpressCard slot, serial and parallel ports -- for Wireshark traces, VM instances, and such -- or, I use my 7" EeePC (Celeron 900).

I don't seem to have much use for the "middle ground" covered by regular laptops or Ultrabooks.

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