It seems in recent years at CES that there’s at least one product trend that tries to fill a void in consumers’ lives that they didn’t realize even needed to be filled.
This year, it’s the Ultrabook. Hoping to capitalize on the popularity Apple drew with its MacBook Air, the similar types of super slim, stylish notebooks for the PC crowd will run about $1,000.
“It really kind of fits into that space between a laptop and a tablet,” says Bryan Deaner of Intel. “It's a really sleek form design, so less than an inch, pretty light—about a pound and a half or two pounds—and they're really responsive, so where a lot of traditional laptops take maybe 30 seconds when you boot them up to get started, these are guaranteed to start up in less than seven seconds.”
Because they don't have CD or DVD drives, Ultrabooks rely heavily either on their internal hard drives or virtual hard drives—the so-called "cloud."
“It's really designed for the ultra mobile and people looking for something sleek and sexy but can still do the things you want to do on a laptop—still connect, still get out and still use it like a notebook. It has a keyboard, it's still designed to be a fully functioning machine,” says Richard LaBennett of Lenovo.
To blur those device lines even further, some Ultrabooks will actually disconnect from their keyboards and become tablets.
As if that space in-between laptops and tablets isn't confusing enough, there are devices like the Samsung Galaxy. Note it's a mini-tablet, but you can also make phone calls from it.
There’s good news for consumers, though. From the smallest phone to the most giant computer and everything in-between, whether they want to touch, type, carry it in their pocket or in a briefcase, 2012 will have devices to suit particular needs and tastes.