Ultrabooks got off to a slow start -- but thanks to new Intel chips, Windows 8 and creative form factors, 2013 might be the breakout year.
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Touch-based functions and next-gen designs might dominate headlines -- but the Ultrabook label encompasses more than these current water cooler topics. Ron DeLine, Intel's director of marketing for the Ultrabook program, said that over 70 Ultrabook models are currently on the market, and that the lineup is tracking toward 140 by early 2013 -- including several models dedicated to refining the traditional laptop form factor.
Lenovo, for example, has invested in touch-friendly devices such as the Yoga series, which appears in both the first and third slides of this slideshow. The company has also, however, released the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (pictured above), a sleek and modern update to its line of enterprise-oriented laptops.
The ThinkPad family had traditionally focused on functionality over aesthetics. The results might not have been clunky, per se -- but they weren't sexy either. The X1 Carbon seeks to change that. With an i5 processor standard and an i7 upgrade available, the laptop maintains the performance specs that business users expect. But thanks to Intel's power-conscious third generation Core chips and some clever engineering, it also comes in a thin, light and attractive package.
That package includes not only a 14-inch screen that's been fit into a 13-inch enclosure, but also overall dimensions that are only slightly bigger than a MacBook Air's -- and significantly smaller than those of a MacBook Pro. The 13-inch MacBook Air, for example, measures 0.68 inches thick and weighs 2.96 pounds, only slightly smaller than the X1 Carbon's 0.7-inch thickness and mass of 2.99 pounds. The 13-inch MacBook Pros, meanwhile, check in at 4.5 pounds for the model that includes an optical drive, and 3.57 pounds for the new Retina version.
Server Market SplitsvilleJust because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.