Bringing laptops back

Rui Shi

The slogan for computer manufacturer ASUS’s new Zenbook is, “Do you believe in love at first sight?” While this might seem like a bold statement, ASUS’s new line of ultrabooks is pushing the limits of laptops.

Ultrabooks are super thin, super lightweight and ultra-portable laptops. It is like the MacBook Air, except it runs Windows. This fact might send Apple loyalists crying foul, but imitation can be considered the highest form of flattery. The Macbook Air redefined portability, and the release of ultrabooks creates a win-win situation for consumers.

The idea for ultrabooks is that they will be under one inch thick and be priced less than $1,000. The ultrabooks’ hard drives, which provide the storage for computers, feature a new technology known as solid-state hard drives. While most hard drives have spinning disks, the SSD does not, which creates no heat and allows for much longer battery life. It also makes starting the computer and opening programs and applications much faster.

The ultrabook makes its appearance at a time when people are talking about tablets. The appeal of tablets has always been their portability and price. The potential for tablets has always been high, but compared to a PC, there are far fewer things a tablet can do. The iOS, which is the operating system of iPhones, simply can’t match up to the OSX, which is the operating system used in MacBook. The tablet has always been the in-between item for those who thinks smart phones are too small and laptops too big. The expectation has been that tablets would become laptop replacements. But the advent of ultrabooks will most likely return tablets to their status as non-essentials. They will be pricier than tablets, but the price increase is justified given the fact that they run Windows and have much better hardware.

What the ultrabook means for students is that they will no longer have to sacrifice performance for portability. An ultra-portable PC used to mean something that was designed mostly for using the Internet and other daily tasks, which is fine to get through the school day. The ultrabook changes all that. Students will now be able to carry with them a non-back-breaking, eye-catching, long-lasting piece of art. A student could pull out his or her ultrabook when the professor pulls up the first lecture slides and be ready to type notes before he has said more than a couple of sentences. Ultrabooks also wake up near instantly from sleep, so they will be ready at a moment’s notice.

The world of technology has always been defined by rising and falling trends. Some products have revolutionized the industry while others have fizzled out without a second thought. In a world of unpredictability, the ultrabook will once again redefine the computer.

Shi is an electrical and computer engineering junior.