Shedding some more weight

September 16th, 2009

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Thin is the current aesthetic that is obsessed on by majority of the world’s population, and the makers of consumer electronics do their selling to that population. Hence, logically speaking it was inevitable that computer manufacturers would follow suit and make thin a rage in the computer world too.

It all started with Apple Air — the craze to have an ultra thin notebook, and today every vendor is chasing that dream to have one in its consumer portfolio. Just imagine laptops an inch thick that multitask and edit multimedia content, and cost only Rs 25,000 - Rs 45,000? Intel and Advanced Micro Devices are betting they aren’t too good to be true. The world’s thinnest laptops, usually the province of executives and the well-heeled, are set to go mainstream this year — thanks to cheaper but still-powerful processors from AMD and Intel. This new category, tagged ultrathins, floats somewhere between the high-end suave looking professional laptops and the affordable lot of netbooks.

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So, now we have Hewlett-Packard’s Pavilion dv2, Acer’s Timeline series and most recently, Dell too has added its Inspiron Z series in the ultrathin market. Dozens of other ultrathin offerings from just about every computer maker are expected to hit retailers this festive season.

Analysts assert that post the success of netbooks that have screens under 11 inches along with smaller keyboards, there has been a surge in demand for an intermediate computer that blends attributes from both ends of the spectrum. The new ultrathins have screens ranging from 12 to 15 inches, with a standard-size keyboard. And yes, they all ape Apple Air in design. There was a time when I stood outside Apple Store in Mumbai, along with a crowd of people, staring at the display Macbook Air model through the glass with a look of longing, and sorrow in their eyes. So there is no denying that an ultrathin devices can strike a cord of lust into the hearts of even the most cynical and battle-hardened of geeks.
What is interesting to note is that Acer, one of the first companies to introduce a cheap Intel-powered ultrthin laptop, expects revenue from that segment to account for 15 per cent of its total sales by the end of 2009. So, could ultrathins be the growth driver for the struggling PC industry, trying to recover from one of its worst downturns? Perhaps.

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