Why you probably shouldn't buy a Windows 8 ultrabook
The clock is quickly winding down to the official launch of Windows 8. The question businesses and consumers will need to answer, though, is whether or not a Windows 8 ultrabook makes sense.Tony Bradley | Monday, October 08 2012 | 7 Comments
The clock is quickly winding down to the official launch of Windows 8. Along with a completely redesigned interface and Windows experience, hardware partners are lined up, ready to offer Windows 8 ultrabooks. The question businesses and consumers will need to answer, though, is whether or not a Windows 8 ultrabook makes sense.
The short answer is, "No". If you're in a hurry, you're welcome. If you have a few minutes, though, read on. I'll explain why I believe Windows 8 ultrabooks aren't a wise purchase right now.
In a few short weeks the Windows 8 era will begin, but right now the anticipation of the next-generation flagship OS from Microsoft seems tepid at best. There's a confluence of factors that could impact the initial success of Windows 8 -- Windows 7 is very popular and still gaining market share, Windows 8 seems uniquely suited to touchscreen hardware, and ultrabooks don't seem to be delivering the bang for the buck necessary to deliver what users are looking for.
Let's look at each of those factors a little more closely:
It took a while for Windows 7 to knock Windows XP off the pedestal to assume its rightful place as the number one desktop operating system, but it finally did so a few months ago. Windows 7 is very popular, and both businesses and consumers are still making the switch from older versions of Windows to Windows 7 in droves.
Windows 7 is a solid, proven operating system. It seems like Windows 7 will be the new Windows XP -- the OS that people love, and refuse to upgrade from without a very compelling reason.
The problem, then, for Microsoft is that Windows 8 doesn't seem to present a very strong case for upgrading from Windows 7.
Windows 8 has a bit of a split personality. The main "Modern" (formerly "Metro") interface is comprised of colorful tiles, designed to run mobile-style apps, and uniquely engineered to be used as on a touchscreen device. Behind that veil, is "desktop mode", which is essentially Windows 7.
On a touchscreen device like the Microsoft Surface tablet, Windows 8 will probably shine. However, using Windows 8 on traditional desktop or laptop hardware with no touchscreen leaves a little to be desired. It basically feels like you're still using Windows 7, but you have to jump through some extra hoops to get past the Modern UI to run the software you need to run.
So, that brings us to the ultrabooks. An ultrabook is basically just a thinner, lighter laptop -- a' la the Apple MacBook Air. Ultrabooks cost significantly more than comparable processing horsepower in a larger notebook, generally lack built-in peripherals like DVD drives in order to save space, and yet still don't have touchscreen technology.
One lofty estimate for ultrabook sales was recently cut in half due to underwhelming results thus far. The launch of Windows 8, and the impending holiday season will probably create a spike in ultrabook sales, but overall the demand simply doesn't seem to match expectations.
For Windows 8, it seems like a better alternative would be a tablet. The tablet is designed to be used as a touchscreen device, and is suited to take advantage of the unique features of Windows 8.
Many vendors are offering hybrid solutions -- Windows 8 tablets with a physical keyboard docking station that turns it into a convertible tablet / ultrabook mashup. If the price is right, a tablet hybrid could be a better platform for Windows 8, a more versatile mobile device for users, and deliver better bang for the buck than a Windows 8 ultrabook.
Also, the Windows 8 built for ARM processors is different to the one built for PCs and regular notebooks. Now, ultrabooks, if you want to call em are basically slim laptops. The new dell tablet which is gonna be out will come with the option of a keyboard. Thereby making it a laptop with a touchscreen. aka Ultrabook.
Also, comparing a macbook air is an ultrabook btw. Not the other way round. God! I wonder where PCWorld got its computer illiterates to write articles like this. I've used Macs, xp, vista, 7 and the 8 preview. The 7 is best because of its ease of use, but if the 8 had the option of a regular start menu [which is there from a third party vendor for just $5 right now], I'd go for the windows 8 hands down.
Also, ever heard of microsoft's kinect system? The metro interface can be controlled with your hands as well. Not just a freakin touchscreen!!
GOD!!! These computer geniuses make me frown!!
Posted by Anonymous at 20:59:55 on October 9, 2012
Having a mix of WXP, Vista and W7 I (we)can speak on all 3.
I am a design engineer running some high level and extremely expensive company packages.
First Vista is a dog and the sooner it joins ME the better and having got that out of the way:
XP Vs W7. There are still several platforms that run extremely well on XP but not on W7: The change in the structure of W7, directories etc really mess up. To change to W7 across the board will require quite a lot of money and time. Neither are available and in this economic climate, and are not likely to be for some time to come.
If we lose XP and have to migrate, by choice we will probably go the Linux route. All bar one package does support Linux and the remaining one we will try and work around.
I do not know if anyone has actually tried to work on a touchscreen. For Cad etc, touchscreens and slabs border on lunacy. Apart from the physical aspect, there is no way any work package can install. let alone work, on the overgrown cellphones that people call computers. W8, as far as we are concerned should be left for cash registers.
Posted by Anonymous at 12:29:15 on October 9, 2012
As for windows 8, it's a 7 rival, probably not a killer, but it's no less useful and great than win7. I won't buy anything with win8 on it unless it comes with a touch screen.
However, when win8 is released, i'm getting it for my main PC(without touch) and for my laptop. I've been using it since FEB and it won't go back to win7
Posted by curmet at 15:14:26 on October 8, 2012
I agree with paragraph 2. Windows 8 will probably become a tablet OS.
In paragraph 3 you directly contradict your statements regarding needing touch screens by saying you'll use it on your non touch screens anyway. What's that all about?
Posted by Anonymous at 23:34:11 on October 8, 2012
Reading comprehension for the win? I guess when you're looking for reasons to tear someone down, you can see what you want to see.
Posted by Murnende at 0:49:03 on October 9, 2012
Posted by Anonymous at 18:38:52 on October 9, 2012
How to choose the best tablet for you
101 great websites:
You haven't heard of yet
We ask the pros for building tips