Following Intel’s announcement that everything on notebooks will be ultra-low voltage beginning from their Ivy Bridge processors and their keynote this morning at Computex predicting ‘Ultrabooks’ (a creative new term coined by Intel for ultra-portable laptops with low power consumption) will fill about 40% of the market with Ivy Bridge powered, less than 0.8 inch thick, sub-$1000 laptop models by the end of next year, we’re looking at the possibility of 2012 becoming the year of the 14 inch notebook.
Why 14 inches you ask? The 14 inch laptop market has recently been viewed somewhat as the “no man’s land” (although apparently still very mainstream in some Asian and European markets). The debut of netbooks meant you’re rather be going with that tiny and super portable 10 inch Mini netbook, a skinny 13 inch MacBook Pro or ultra-portable equivalent or sorts, or ‘big screen’ 15.6 or 17 inch Pavilion model for being the two-in-one work and movie notebook.
If Ivy Bridge were to live up to its ‘low voltage’ claim (and I’m sure Intel will be putting in effort to accomplish that between now and CES 2012, if they haven’t done it already), a 14 inch notebook that used to be a thick neither-here-nor-there model between 12 and 15 inch notebooks, could end up replacing both your ultra-portable and bigger notebook if made thin enough.
Imagine Intel’s claim: 40% of the market, 0.8 inches or less thin. As thin as a 12 inch ultra-portable might end up, it will likely also use a smaller battery and ‘ultra-ultra’ low-voltage Ivy Bridge chip… a 15 or 17 incher, despite being so thin, would still be huge in terms of surface area. And forget about netbooks if you’re a power user… having used the first HP Mini 2133 netbook and Mini 5101 (which has now been succeeded by the Mini 5103, with the possibility of a Mini 5104 coming soon I believe), they’re great for students, weekend outdoor users or casual web surfers but they can’t run stuff like Photoshop or run quick enough for people like me when I go on a press conference coverage frenzy.
A 14 inch laptop would then be the perfect size… paired with the new features of Intel’s Ivy Bridge, could run for at least 6 to 8 hours using a bigger battery (more sizable than one on an ultra-thin 12 inch laptop at least). If the market ends up having laptops of all sizes (from 11 to 17 inch displays) that are ‘0.8 inch or less’ in slimness, the factor going for 14 inch models would be those juicy 1600 x 900 displays, a perfect compromise between size and resolution. They might also end up using new ‘standard’-class Ivy Bridge (Note I said class, not voltage… since low voltage is the new standard voltage), which means a lot more performance than on a ‘low-low’ voltage processor (assuming Intel continues to split a line between upper and lower tier processor models) on say, a 12 inch notebook.
With all that said, I can’t wait to see an Ivy Bridge HP Envy 14 that’s slimmer than a current MacBook Pro. I’ve also gained a newfound curiosity as to how HP’s 2012 EliteBook models would look like, as like many of our readers, I’d really like a high-performance EliteBook that measures less than an inch thin, yet I’d also still like to be able to do this to it… I’m not sure if a slimmer EliteBook body would be able to handle such abuse. Double reinforced titanium-alloy rollcage anyone?