back to article Early verdict on Intel Ultrabook™ push: FAIL

Intel's much-ballyhooed ultrabook effort is not working out quite as well as Chipzilla had hoped, with global sales of the thin and light laptops falling well behind expectations. "The volume isn't there and it's going to be way below what Intel had hoped for," IDC analyst Jay Chou told CNET on Wednesday. Intel's vision of …

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Anonymous Coward

I won't buy

I won't buy for a simple reason, same reason as I don't buy Mac air:

Intel graphics. I really tested my limits of patience when I had to deal with a friends "white macbook".

ATI (for better Linux support) or nvidia (if you don't care) are real gpus.

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WTF?

Re: I won't buy

That's funny because I would NEVER but laptop with ATI or nVidia for use with Linux.

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Re: I won't buy

1 FPS in a game, no hardware T&L on osx which has hardware accelerated 2d for years. Let me continue?

Oh, that was "old Intel gpu(!)". Let me say something who has used s3 chrome integrated graphics (so I am not a FPS freak): if you can't reliably produce something, don't use your illegal monopoly to push it to people. What does Sandy bridge support? Up to directx 9? Lets allow Intel junk gpu and tell developers use opengl 2 and directx 9 in 2012?

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FAIL

Re: I won't buy

That's even funnier because then you would NEVER be able to do anything meaningful in linux that requires any sort of proper 3D acceleration.

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Anonymous Coward

The MacBook contains Intel components (just as the iPad & iPhone contain Samsung components), so it is difficult to see this as a do or die struggle for Intel.

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Holmes

Intel don't care if you get an Ultabook or MBA (subject to the deal they cut with Apple being worse for them than standard and they don't want to depend on a single customer). They do care about the PC market as opposed to the tablet market, they also care the total market value so the high end is especially important.

Intel's take can only be a percentage of the total value of the total PC market value.

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Bronze badge
Thumb Down

Intel want UB's to succeed as while with MBA they have a large input and resultant profit, Intel own the standard for UB's and can dictate how much Intel tech is in the specification.

They can also make a commission on the rights to a device being called Ultrabook.

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Silver badge

More importantly, I suspect, Intel see Apple has been successful at getting people to buy a new laptop earlier than they might otherwise have been, by marketing the MBA as significantly different from previous Mac laptops. They'd like to encourage Windows laptop users (and, yes, the relative handful of Linux users[1]) to upgrade early as well. So they're going to see if they can duplicate Apple's marketing ploy.

"Oh, we see your customers like shiny. Maybe our customers will like shiny too!"

[1] I occasionally have Linux running on one of laptop myself. Always in a VM, though, because that's simpler than taking even a little while to replace preinstalled Windows as the host OS.

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WTF?

Apple is pretty far from being more than a single-digit number in...

...worldwide sales so let's stop with the crazy Kool-Aid comparos - Macbook sales arenot really a concern for Intel, that's for sure.

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FAIL

Netbook

I'm probably going to get panned here but for a truly portable computer a netbook beats an ultrabook every day of the week for me. Ok so not those early netbooks with only 2hr battery, big black bars around the screen, a poor excuse for an SSD and a cut-down OS.

For example, my Asus 1005HA-P netbook... 2GB RAM, 1Kg, under A4 in size (slightly thicker than an ipad), VGA, ethernet, 4 USBs, webcam, SD card reader, WiFi, Bluetooth, 9hr battery life so enough for a day of airports and flights (even after 3 years I'm still getting 9hrs). So it's not got the most grunt in the world, but with Win XP it's decent enough for everything I need to do when travelling... Office XP goes like stink, VLC and MPHC play HD video, Firefox goes on the internet, Pidgin sends instant messages, Skype works, GIMP opens to resize/crop images etc.

In addition to that I have an Acer Core i5 laptop, which could be the same spec as an ultrabook, about 1cm thicker, same width/length, has better connectivity*... all for 1/3rd of the price. The higher price and thinness of an ultrabook doesn't justify the 200%+ price differential over a normal laptop.

* Needing stupid adaptors for ethernet and VGA/DVI connections is a complete joke. The last thing I want to be worrying about when travelling with, you know, a lightweight portable computer, is having to pack adaptors for essential connections like that. Fail.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Netbook

I love my netbook and I think the size of them is perfect for using on a train or plane with it's 10.1 inch screen, but the thing that lets it down for me is the screen resolution. 1024 x 600 isn't enough. It's a shame Asus never really looked into better screen resolutions for their netbooks because it's the only thing putting me off getting another. Aside from that they are fantastic machines for all the reasons listed above.

The ultrabook pricing is madness and they are trying to ride on Apples Macbook Air coattails but it won't wash with the public who are brainwashed by clever Apple marketing to expect to pay 200 - 300 quid more for the Apple products compared to the equivalent from Dell or Asus so pricing them toe to toe is always going to fail

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Bronze badge

Re: Netbook

Prior to netbooks, the only small portable machines available were the very expensive high end business machines. The Ultrabooks of the day, generally sold to management and sales in businesses.

After the launch of netbooks, I bet these sales dropped, as a netbook was adequate for their needs.

Basically, they've shot themselves in the foot!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Netbook

Essential for you is not essential for me - you may need to hook up to a DVI connector often - I don't. So the idea of carrying around a small adapter for the very rare times I may want to is no bother and if I can have a smaller, lighter laptop 'every' day I'll take that.

So you really think you can find a laptop with the same spec / support and is as well made as a a Macbook Air for under £300 - don't forget it needs to have Thunderbolt as I *do* use that. What you can't - thought not.

I'm not saying you can't get the same / better spec for less money but that's pretty obvious and pointless comparison.

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Re: Netbook

I agree about netbook resolutions - the weird thing is that the ASUS Transformer Prime does have a higher resolution, 1280x800. But that runs Android, which I'm not interested in. It seems odd to me that they think that Android has a higher need than Windows for higher resolutions - I would have said the reverse. It almost makes me wonder if there's something about Windows 7 Starter licensing that restricts what kind of devices it can be sold with...

I only hope that the higher minimum resolution of Windows 8 might force an improvement. Though part of me worries that the obsession and hype of tablets - and the spec of netbooks remaining mostly stagnant - will make netbooks disappear.

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Re: Netbook

What the fuck do you use thunderbolt for? I have heard claims it's useful, I just haven't seen one. It's certainly not more useful then ethernet. (and no, if you think wifi make this obsolete, you haven't ever used hotel wifi)

Is it a better spec? Maybe on paper it is, but the things that it's better at aren't what most people really need. In practice where it is lacking is what most people do need. Ofcourse I assume Intel's UB doesn't include ethernet either.

Me? I use a netbook when on the road as well. It's better for what I need then an MBA.

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Stop

Re: Netbook

Oh, I don't know, what about desktop docking for a start? You can get your gig Ethernet connection, FireWire 800, extra USB ports and a full sized monitor by plugging in one cable.

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Re: Netbook

So saves plugging in 4 cables? Is that it?

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Re: Netbook

Ultrabook smaller and lighter than a netbook? Err no. Thinner at the thinnest point perhaps and the same mass as a netbook. But larger total volume due to being wider and longer.

My big laptop still only weighs 1.8Kg, Core i5, 6GB memory, SSD, about 2.5cm high. No Thunderbolt but USB 3. And cost £400... It's not an ultrabook.

The advantage of an ultrabook over a decent spec low profile normal laptop just isn't worth 2x the price. And certainly not worth 3x the price of a netbook.

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Stop

Re: Netbook

Did you not read the bit about it giving you extra ports? Your laptop magically gives you a FireWire port when you connect it to a monitor? With Thunderbolt you keep all your existing ports and gain a batch of new ones.

The problem with netbooks is twofold. Firstly crappy screens. Intel limited them to 1024x600 for no apparent reason. Sorry, in this day and age that just doesn't fly.

The second problem is the horribly underpowered Atom CPU combined with Intel graphics, a recipe for poor performance if there ever was one. You really can't throw propper desktop apps at one (I've tried, it wasn't good).

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Linux

Re: Netbook

I would rather be able to ditch the docking station and have access to 100MB/s file transfers over GigE without having a lot of extra stuff to carry or without the need to turn my laptop into a desktop.

If you have to argue that you can transform your portable device into something better with lots of OTHER gear, then you've missed the point entirely.

Dongles are for 80s 8-bit computers.

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Stop

Re: Netbook

Have you seen the size of the Thunderbolt -> Gigabit Ethernet adaptor? Its tiny, the kind of thing you can stick in a pocket of your laptop bag and ignore until you need it.

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Re: Netbook

Oh, and the argument is that you can transform your laptop into a reasonably capable desktop by connecting two cables (power and Thunderbolt), or hook up really high speed storage (try pushing 800MB/sec over USB).

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Silver badge

Re: Netbook

I can transform my laptop into a capable desktop by putting it on a desk.

Of course, I have no need or desire for an external monitor (I used multiple monitors with X11 back in the late '80s and early '90s; the thrill has worn off), or 800MB/s transfers to external storage, or any of the other tasks you seem to be plugging Thunderbolt for. Perhaps you do; that's swell. But I'm with batfastad on this one, and I suspect we're not the only ones.

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Stop

Re: Netbook

Then you either have a large, not very portable laptop or you don't do work that requires significant amounts of screen real-estate. There are very few laptops that can match a 2560x1440 monitors resolution, non at all that have a 27"+ screen. Not all, but a huge proportion of laptop users at least have a desktop monitor because of this.

Given the complaint was that 1GB ethernet was NEEDED in order to shift data at 100MB/sec (by the time you knock network overheads off you'll be luck to hit 80MB/sec anyway), people who use HUGE files, like video for example, need to be able to archive it faster than that.

Final point, this isn't about what you personally want from a laptop, its about what there is a significant demand for. Given the number of Windows laptops that come with docking ports and port replicators you have to admit that there's a demand.

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Trollface

Microsoft Surface

The MS Surface Pro (the proper Windows 8 version) is supposed to cost about as much as an Ultrabook on release, but with a slightly smaller screen and more limited keyboard and connectivity.

But I am sure it will be a roaring success in comparison because... ?

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Re: Microsoft Surface

Well hang on, if you want a portable, the smaller screen is a good point, surely. Indeed, one reason I don't like the high end ultra-portables is because my Samsung netbook is actually smaller. For some reason it seems impossible to get any non-Atom based PC with less than 11", and the MS Surface looks to be the first one to do that.

Admittedly, you may have a point that it's a bad sign if most consumers aren't interested in high end ultra-portables, but then they also have the lower end ARM version. And the point of the Surface isn't to sell the most - it's like the Google Android phones, they're just there to set a high end standard. If it happens that most Windows 8 sales are from cheaper lower spec machines, MS still gain from that.

I just wish manufacturers would improve the low end of the market more - if we can have phones with HD resolutions and 2GB RAM, why are the 10" netbooks still stuck at 1024x600 with 1GB I wonder...

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Anonymous Coward

Time to get real

No one with a clue would buy an over-priced under performing Ultrabook and that is why sales suck.

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Coat

Re: Time to get real

Unless they're a Fanboi...just sayin.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Time to get real

You can get a comparable performance machine (minus thin/light and w/o the SSDs that *some* Ultrabooks have) for $500. Maybe consumers don't think thin/light is worth the premium?

I sure as hell don't...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Time to get real

I carry my MBA around all day - half the weight / size and being rugged is well worth the extra cost over the 3+ years I will have it. Sure if it was stuck on a desk all day and taken out of the office 1 day every 2 weeks perhaps not. For me battery life and being well made / rugged is a must - plastic laptops just seem to wear so much worse.

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Re: Time to get real

No one needs an Ultra expensive toy when they can get a lightweight, powerful laptop at a reasonable price. Samsung, HP, Acer and many others offer < 4 lb. 13"-14" laptops with Trinity APUs that provide superior overall performance to any Ultrabook -- for hundreds less. If you need a Mac Air or Ultrabook to impress your friends, so be it. Informed consumers won't be exploited by Intel or Apple but sheep will.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Time to get real

HPs range of sub 4lb laptops include 2 on their website, The only one comparable to an MBA for example, has a slower CPU :

http://h40059.www4.hp.com/uk/homelaptops/product.php?id=B1J91EA&experience=direct

and cost £1200 compared to the equivalent MBA at £999

or maybe the samsung equivalent series 9? with lesspower

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004NF5RU6?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwetalecouk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B004NF5RU6

at £1099?

Now I agree that this is significantly cheaper at £627:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004QH948W?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwetalecouk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B004QH948W

but less powerful?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Time to get real

I have to walk at least 2 miles every day and usually more to get around town. I do this with my laptop in my backpack. I used to have a 13" MacBook and detested carrying it around--too heavy. With an 11" MacBook Air, even though it's "only" 2-2.5 lbs lighter, I don't mind at all. There have been a few times where I accidentally schlepped my laptop somewhere without realizing, which would not have been possible with the old one. I would have paid more of a price premium for this level of portability.

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Thumb Up

Re: Time to get real

Which is EXACTLY the reason I purchased an 11" Air the same week they first hit the stores.

I have concluded I am not a fanbois, as (a) I have not upgraded despite a couple of hardware iterations of the model and (b) I am still running OSX 10.6.8.

Another satisfied MBA user.

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FAIL

Re: Time to get real

"I carry my MBA around all day - half the weight / size and being rugged is well worth the extra cost over the 3+ years I will have it."

And pretty much that's all you can do with that pathetically underpowered yet ridiculously overpriced toy, nothing else - Macbook Air: a fancy netbook for 3-4x the price, that is.

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Devil

™?

If they've actually been granted a trademark, then it should be Ultrabook®, surely. Anyone can use ™, but you're only (legally) allowed to use ® if the trademark has been registered.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ™?

While not a trade mark it does mean the name used has a modicum of goodwill in it and as such has some monetary value in relation to the goodwill of the name. It is a way to try and stop imitators.

definition- AN UNREGISTERED TRADE MARK to promote a brand or goods.

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Anonymous Coward

Why pay 900 quid...

...for a MacBook Air knockoff?

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Re: Why pay 900 quid...

...for a MacBook Air.

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Re: Why pay 900 quid...

Considering both Sony and Samsung were doing thin and light laptops before Apple made them shiny, I would say the Ultrabook was a Vaio knock-off personally. Apple getting credit for inventing something they didn't again I see.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why pay 900 quid...

"Apple getting credit for inventing something they didn't again I see."

Erm, no.

Apple getting credit for packaging said product that's already in the market but not making a stir in a way that makes it sell.

Clunky MP3 Players > iPods

Clunky Tablets > IPads

Clunky smart phones > iPhone

Thin/Light laptops > MBA

Like it or not (and I don't!), its really all smoke and mirrors, and that's a skill in itself.

When I was writing the list above I was trying to work out exactly what thin/light laptops were missing before MBA came along and I'm b*ggered if I can think of anything, so wtf did it take Apple to take them mainstream?

Y'know I've concluded that Sony really are sh*te these days. <sigh>

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why pay 900 quid...

It's like slagging off a new, more advanced car just because cars existed before - Apple have significantly evolved all of those products whereas other manufacturers were happy to keep dishing up the same crap. Without Apple you would not have all these iPhone clones, without Apple you would not have all these slim iPad clones and without Apple I doubt MP3 players would have evolved so quickly to become commonplace.

They have basically upped the bar a good few notches - no-one is claiming they 'invented' electricity or were first on the moon - but they have made a bigger contribution than most.

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Re: Why pay 900 quid...

The Ipad is a very big smartphone, so they hardly get credit for making something smaller. We've yet to see a small tablet that is a full blow PC - like it or not, the Surface will be that (whether people want that is another matter).

The Iphone wasn't smaller, indeed in 2007 it was larger than many phones. Nor did it sell more - the earlier sales were low, and it took years to get up to the level of other platforms. Symbian dominanted to 2011, since then it's been Android. By company, Nokia and now Samsung lead - so clearly it wasn't Apple who were first to get "smart" phones to sell. (The first Iphone wasn't even a smartphone, as it didn't run apps.)

My Sansa is far smaller than an Ipod, and my Samsung netbook smaller than an Apple Air. I don't recall them getting tonnes of hype and fuss.

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Re: Why pay 900 quid...

I don't know what an "iPhone clone" is, but phones and smartphones were showing a clear continual trend of improving long before Apple. Sure, Apple introduced some things - but so did many other companies. The Iphone wouldn't even exist if it wasn't for those other companies. And the rise of Android tablets would clearly still have happened without Apple - it's Google to thank for that, for providing an OS for everyone. Indeed, without Apple, maybe I'd be able to get software support for my phone and tablet, rather than all the sites that only cater for the minority of Apple users. Suggesting that without Apple, mp3 players wouldn't have evolved is madness - the improvement in the necessary technology (e.g., storage space in Flash) was not done by Apple.

Tell you what - I'll thank Apple, when I hear an Apple user thank Samsung, Nokia, Google, Microsoft, ARM, NVIDIA etc. But you know what? I never ever have.

It's claiming that one random make of car revolutionised everything, just because you can find one thing that was better about it, even though there were loads of other ways it was worse. And then talking about it all the time, on and on, years later. Some of us are fed up of hearing about it all the time - start giving credit to the many other multinationals who have also made a bigger contribution than most.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why pay 900 quid...

Face it, Apple invented the prototypical smartphone form factor that everybody is using (copying) these days, i.e., a big flat slab dominated by a touchscreen that you operate with your fingers and a minimal number of physical keys.

If you need any proof that nobody else was headed in that direction, just look at where Google was going with Android before it got wind of the iPhone. Android was originally intended to run on phones that looked like the Motorola Q and any circa-2007 Blackberry. It was only after the iPhone became public knowledge that they did an about-face and got rid of the keyboard, doubled the screen size, and focused on touch UI.

So think about that next time you're lovingly caressing your Samsung Galaxy (or whatever) and thinking about how much better it is than an iPhone...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why pay 900 quid...

Apple invented putting a phone inside a Dell Axim. There, I said it.

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WTF?

Re: Why pay 900 quid...

"Face it, Apple invented the prototypical smartphone form factor that everybody is using (copying) these days, i.e., a big flat slab dominated by a touchscreen that you operate with your fingers and a minimal number of physical keys."

You mean for clueless, absolutely ignorant Mac users, right?

Because for the rest of us such smartphones - and yes, even application stores - were existing devices long before any Apple shill came even close to discover them, forget making these stupid-hilarious claims about Apple's 'invention' (sic!)...

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what could change my mind

If that price included:

a battery operated, wireless connected, external DVD drive (what happened to wireless USB?)

a wireless mouse (with an internal adaptor that does not take up a USB slot)

a wireless headset (ditto)

an ethernet adaptor

a screen with at least 1200 vertical pixels

and if the thing had built-in 3G connectivity, and could make VOIP and cellular calls with the aforementioned headset.

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Re: what could change my mind

a wireless mouse (with an internal adaptor that does not take up a USB slot)

a wireless headset (ditto)

Bluetooth?

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Re: what could change my mind

Nothing

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