Ever since I was a young adult (don’t ask how long ago), I have had a fascination with the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that is held in Las Vegas (this year on January 10-13). Initially, my interest grew out of my appreciation for quality home audio equipment. As time went on it expanded to include video and the melting together of the two as surround sound brought the movie theater into the home. I have always dreamed about having the opportunity to attend CES, but since it is reserved for those who are involved in the consumer electronics industry and closed to the public, I knew I would probably never get there. This reality did not stop me from dreaming as I read news from the event in Stereo Review magazine.
Today, my interest in CES remains strong. But, while I once had to wait for the monthly magazine to arrive, I now have instant connection to the event through the convenience of our beloved Internet. I still read about CES in the magazines, but I now have the added resources of tech news apps, podcasts, and websites to assuage my thirst for information. This fascination that was birthed within me because of the home audio segment of electronic technology has evolved to an appreciation of all things tech. More recently this has included the latest computer and cellular communication devices; which again, we see melting together before our very eyes.
While it would seem appropriate to focus this week’s article on tablet computers; that is not the case. Tablets are so 2011! I always have my sights set on what’s ahead in anticipation of the next wave of technology. This year’s CES has garnered much excitement for a new category of computing technology called the Ultrabook. Falling somewhere between laptops, netbooks and tablets; the Ultrabook is a very thin notebook – think MacBook Air – that runs Windows, or perhaps a hybrid version of the Android operating system. Most of the major players (Lenovo, Acer, Asus, etc.) are, as we speak, rolling out their version of this new platform. Some have the one-piece aluminum framework that Apple brought to the game while others incorporate a lot of plastic in their construction. The choice of construction materials is reflected in the price that we consumers will see.
Some of the new Ultrabooks will be released with a traditional hard disk drive, while most will include the faster, more expensive solid state drive (SSD) – a storage drive with no moving parts (data is stored in flash memory, like it is on a flash drive).
Some Ultrabooks are geared toward keeping the costs low (around $600) while others, like Lenovo, are aiming their offering toward the high-end business user (at $1,500 plus). Keep in mind that prices are always higher for new technology and that these may come down in six months or so.
While some pride themselves on being early adopters of new technology, there is often wisdom in waiting for the next generation. In this case, a wait for the second half of 2012 may reward the consumer with a touch-screen system running the new Windows 8 operating system.
Is an Ultrabook right for you? Only you can answer that. The question would be, what are your computing needs? If you are looking for a full-featured laptop with a lot of storage space, the traditional laptop may be for you. But, if you are a very mobile person with a need for a thin, light-weight computer with a physical keyboard (as opposed to the on-screen virtual keyboard of the tablet computer), and have most of your data stored elsewhere; then an Ultrabook may be for you. When looking at your technology needs, it is always a good idea to start with what type of computing device best suits your working style.
2012 is stacking up to be a very exciting year for those of us with interest in technology. There are some really great things coming into view and you can be assured that we at CS Technologies Plus are standing ready to welcome them with open arms. Let us know if we can be of assistance to you in this new year.
Now, please excuse me while I go find out what’s next after the Ultrabook!
Computer Service Technician