Ultrabooks DOA

In 2012, the very definition of the term "ultrabook" became increasingly vague. And the hope that this nebulous category would give the PC industry a much-needed boost did not come to fruition.

Intel's "ultrabook" campaign was born in 2011, ostensibly to bring Apple-style sex appeal to stodgy PC laptops. No longer would Windows laptops look like embarrassing, blocky throwbacks. Instead, you'd get ultrathin design, light weight, and solid performance -- basically, a Windows machine with the same design chops as the MacBook Air.

That was the plan, anyway. As the ultrabook train rolled into 2012, its very definition became increasingly vague -- small screen sizes and flash storage were no longer "must-haves," which pretty much stretched the definition of "ultrabook" to "almost any reasonably attractive Windows laptop."

Combine that with a transition to Windows 8 -- more marketplace confusion as to myriad laptop formats and choices -- and a consumer move to tablets as the go-to gadget of choice, and it's no surprise to hear that ultrabooks just weren't the spark to rekindle PC sales in 2012. Look for the industry to try more-ambitious form factors in 2013, further blurring the line between laptops and tablets -- and likely leaving the term "ultrabook" in the rearview mirror.

Go back to the CNET 100

Featured Video

Behmor's app controlled coffee maker links to the Web for better brewing

The $329 Behmor Connected Coffee Brewer boasts the guts of an SCAA-approved drip coffee maker melded with a Wi-Fi radio, plus Internet links and mobile app control all in the interest of creating better pots of java.

by Brian Bennett