LAS VEGAS--At Intel's CES 2012 press conference, the emphasis wasn't on specific chips and their benchmark scores, as it has been in previous years. Instead, Intel was a cheerleader for a very specific type of new consumer product--the ultrabook.
By now, everyone should be at least somewhat familiar with the pitch. Ultrabook is an Intel marketing term (much like Centrino was), encompassing a growing category of Windows laptops that are thin and reasonably powerful, with good battery life and at least some solid-state drive (SSD) storage.
I was justifiably skeptical of the whole idea at first--it seemed to be a blatant play for Apple's growing MacBook Air audience, and the earliest ultrabook examples were nearly the same price as an Air, but without offering any notable advantages (besides running Windows, of course).… Read more