Every year at the global electronic bazaar that is the Consumer Electronic Show, there is a product du jour. A certain product segment seemingly overloads the trade show. iPad killers were out in force at 2011’s show. 2010 was all about 3D TVs while netbooks was the popular product in 2009. It seems that ultrabooks might be 2012’s hot product. But can they break the dreaded CES curse (a term I coined for the purpose of this post) that plagued the previous hot products?
Recently at a CES Unveiled event in London, a director of research for the CEA, Shawn DuBravac, forecasted a bunch of ultrabook debuts at the 2012 CES. He stated, “We expect to see 30 to 50 new ultrabooks launch at CES.” That’s a whole lot of MacBook Air clones.
The term ultrabook refers to a ultraportible notebook built using a small footprint Intel chipset. These notebooks are just now starting to hit the market from nearly every PC manufacturer, but the first batch are just to test the market. The real fun comes yet later this year when Intel releases the 22nm Ivy Bridge CPU chipset that will offer a modest performance boost over the current Sandy Bridge chips as well as offer USB 3.0 and PCI Express 3.0. With Intel passing out these chips prior to 2012, expect most of the ultrabooks announced at CES 2012 to be built on this next-gen platform. It’s then that with these even more mobile CPUs that ultrabooks will hit the big time. That is, of course, if ultrabooks feature staying power greater than previous hot CES product.
Last year, at CES 2011, nearly every major CE player debuted or teased their upcoming Android tablets. These slates were supposed to challenge the iPad, but now, not even a full year later, it seems some are ready to pull the plug on their tablets thanks to poor sales. CES 2010 was all about 3D TVs. Massive booths were surrounded by crowds of people waiting to see the future through several pairs of 3D glasses. Sony, Panasonic and others were preaching a message about buying a 3D TV now to use to watch all the upcoming awesome 3D content… 2009 was all about the netbook. But that wasn’t the star of the show. No, as the video embedded here shows, that title was earned by Greg and Doug during the SanDisk Rockband 2 competition.
Ultrabooks are supposed to the answer to Apple’s increasingly popular MacBook Air. Intel designed the computing platform to be as thin as possible while keeping the price low. The first batch of ultabooks start at $899 and offer competitive performance. But they’re still not built as well as the MacBook Air. CES 2012 starts the second week of Janaury but most of the products are announced early. Prepare yourself for the ultrabooks. They are coming.