Ultrabooks 'are the future'

Updated: 2012-10-22 09:26

By Tuo Yannan (China Daily)

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Intel boss sees laptops being overtaken by a new generation of touch screen computer devices

Ultrabooks will become mainstream in the future and, within two years, about 80 percent of laptops will have touch screens because of the coming Windows 8 operating system, said Yang Xu, president of Intel China.

Ultrabooks 'are the future'

A Lenovo ultrabook - the Thinkpad X1 Carbon - on show in Beijing. China's largest PC maker, Lenovo Group Ltd, launched an updated version in China on Oct 12. The new product is able to swivel its screen 360 degrees, turning a normal laptop into a tablet PC. [Photo/China Daily] 

Yang said that by the end of this year there will be more than 40 touch-screen ultrabooks out of 140. "The touch-screen ultrabook is the industry trend and will dominate the market in the near future," he said.

The ultrabook is a concept introduced by the semiconductor giant Intel Corp. The concept is to produce a notebook computer designed to provide similar or superior functions as a standard laptop but thinner, lighter and with a longer battery life.

This concept was introduced by Intel in 2011 in an attempt to reclaim territory lost to mobile Internet devices such as tablet PCs and smartphones, especially to Apple Inc's iPad.

"Last year there were only a few ultrabooks in the global market but this year we will see more than 140 ultrabooks," said Yang. He said the new type of product will boost sales in the PC industry and many creative models will be produced in the future to redefine the concept of traditional laptops.

The 26-year veteran IT worker demonstrated the new Microsoft Corp Windows 8 by using a Chinese PC brand Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13.

The world's largest PC maker, Lenovo Group Ltd, launched this, its latest ultrabook, in China on Oct 12. The new product is able to swivel its screen 360 degrees, turning a normal laptop into a tablet PC. The company said it will be available on Oct 23 in China starting at 6,999 yuan ($1,109).

"Now is an era for traditional PCs to undergo a revolution and create new products," said Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo's CEO and president. "In the future we believe the convertible PC will become the new standard for the laptop industry."

Peter Hortensius, senior vice-president of Lenovo and president of its product group, said the company believes the swiveling ultrabook is the best type for a touch-screen experience.

Sales of traditional PCs are falling due to the economic downturn and shrinking spending on IT. In August, the US-based IT research firm IDC forecast a 3.8 percent year-on-year market contraction in the PC industry.

International research firm IHS forecast that by the end of this year 10.3 million ultrabooks will be sold globally and the number will increase to 44 million next year. However, IDC estimated that 117 million tablet PCs will be shipped by the end of this year.

"Last year ultrabook sales were relatively low mainly because of the price," Yang from Intel said. However, he said the price has now dropped from more than 10,000 yuan to about 5,000 yuan at the low end.

"I believe because of technology improvements, prices and functions will get better in the near future and ultrabooks will become more affordable," he added.

"PCs are going through a severe slump," said Jay Chou, a senior research analyst at Worldwide PC Tracker in an earlier report. He said because of the weak economy and the saturation of the PC market, customers have longer PC replacement cycles than before, so even though ultrabook prices have come down a little, some challenges still remain that will affect Windows 8 in the coming quarter.

Yang from Intel said the new Windows system needs more applications to attract customers.