Just in time for the holiday season, Ultrabooks are finally starting to make their way onto store shelves. These svelte laptops already look like they have the potential to become as popular as netbooks did a few years back. We’ve seen several manufactures, from Lenovo u300S and Acer Aspire S3 strut their first Ultrabook models, and for first generation devices they are already quite lust worthy.
We sat down with Intel’s Tony Salvador, the Director of Experience Insights Research at Intel’s Interaction & Experience Research Lab, and David Ginsberg, the Director of Insights and Market Research, to talk to them about what was Intel’s inspiration for creating the Ultrabook. David and Tony explained that over the last few years Intel has quite radically shifted their approach when it comes to creating new technology. In the past, Intel has traditionally been very occupied with the race to come out with the faster processors, and they will still be concerned with improving CPU speeds going forward. But they now put a lot more energy into researching how people are using their technology, and understanding what they want from their technology – and why.
Over the past year or so, Intel has discovered that when computer users say they want performance, they aren’t necessarily talking about CPU speeds – but that they are referring to the desire to have an immersive experience. This user-centric point of view helped give birth to the concept of the Ultrabook. Intel discovered that users longed for a mobile yet affordable computing experience where their computer is lightweight, slim, secure, turns on instantly, and has long battery life – all without breaking the bank. From there on, the Ultrabook concept was born. Intel then took the Ultrabook’s specifications and brought it to PC manufacturers like Dell, Asus, Acer, and Lenovo, where they helped them develop their own versions of the Ultrabook.
The obvious elephant in the room is the MacBook Air, and Intel admits that they recognize the Air as a trailblazer in this realm, yet they insist that the Ultrabook category was developed from ethnographic and social research based upon what consumers wanted from their technology. To that effect, Intel says that there is a bold future ahead for Ultrabooks. They plan on introducing touchscreens on Ultrabooks and improving them with faster boot-up times, better security features and many more innovations will come with time. They also believe that the Ultrabook will spawn on whole new categories of devices. One thing is for sure, tablets and smartphones may be all the rage nowadays, but Ultrabooks have the potential to bring more interest and excitement back into the PC industry.