Early January I had the fantastic opportunity to attend CES 2012 in Las Vegas and got a taste of the latest major IT trends and newest technologies. From a mobility perspective, one area really stood out: the ultrabook and its impact on the B2B market.
For many of us, tablets (which includes the iPad and Android-based devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab) are a major milestone in term of mobility, access to information and content reachability while on the go. There are many innovative and customized applications or connected devices that make the most of tablets and these capabilities. We have to acknowledge that tablets have clearly transformed the way we see & access information on the move.
However, tablets have inherent major limitations that prevent them becoming a PC replacement: they are mostly limited to email read/reply/forward, displaying documents with limited editing capability, and they lack a proper keyboard & mouse, and standard connectors like USB and video out.
If you already have a tablet, you will easily remember the last time you tried to edit a spreadsheet, word document or presentation on the device, tried to recover an archived email, not been able to view a Flash-based site or forced onto a “mobile-formatted” web site. As a professional user, the tablet is fairly limiting.
In addition to the above limitations, as most tablets are iOS and Android based, and in order embed internal processes, companies will need, to redevelop any customized interfaces to run on the new devices, which would make migrating or incorporating those devices to a tablet-friendly interface fairly costly.
The arrival of the Ultrabooks, based on Microsoft Windows 7 (and Windows 8 with all its “touchscreen features”), is extremely interesting. For Microsoft and Intel, it is a great opportunity to level the playing field against Apple and Google..
From my perspective, the ultrabook has a good balance of cost, ease of compatibility with corporate applications and usability and therefore, transfoms tablets of any kind, into a way less attractive device.
Among the major advantages of ultrabooks, I see the following:
- MS Windows-based, so fully compatible with the corporate environment and existing ecosystem (application)
- includes all the major connectors (USB, video, memory slots, Ethernet…)
- a range of interfaces: keyboard, mouse and rich touchscreen features when Windows 8 launches in 2012
- powered by an outstanding new family of processors
- boots in seconds
So, to wrap it up, I would say that for all the users needing more than a consultative device, ultrabooks are an ideal alternative to tablets. They also mean you only need one device both while on the go and in the office.
What do you think? Have Microsoft and Intel finally found a way to turn this market upside down??