CES 2011 was all about tablets, as computer OEMs rushed to announce models to compete with the successful Apple iPad. But aside from Amazon and its November 2011 Kindle Fire launch, no one came close to capturing share from Apple.
Now, CES 2012 is shaping up to be all about ultrabooks. Intel launched the ultrabook category in May 2011, and most of the new ultrabook introductions at CES fit within Intel’s initial descriptors of the category: a super thin form factor, no optical drives, and designed around a mobile Intel chipset. However, they’re all shaping up to be Apple MacBook Air clones in terms of design and usage.
As computer OEMs struggle to put out products as streamlined as the MacBook Air and as game-changing as the iPad, a hybrid solution has been introduced. Enter Lenovo. With its IdeaPad Yoga, Lenovo has combined form factors to create a market crossover. The IdeaPad Yoga has a 13.1-inch display with a 360-degree flip-and-fold design, allowing the consumer to convert the ultrabook into a touch-screen tablet using a hinged case.
The clever attempt at naming it aside, Lenovo’s ultrabook + tablet strategy is not likely to hamper Apple’s iPad momentum. At this point, consumers are just wrapping their brains around how to use tablets. Throwing a new product category into the mix just creates confusion. Tablets will remain the stronger growth category over ultrabooks in 2012, and the iPad will continue to be the true game-changer.