ASIDE FROM Intel's huge marketing and technology sourcing campaign and the sexy designs we see, ultrabooks or ultraslim, ultralight notebooks have an interesting role in bridging the mobile PC and mobile tablet and smartphone markets.
Ultrabooks' thinness and their light weight make them as appealing to carry around as a high end tablet, yet they have all the PC functionality for content authoring, unlike tablets. On the other hand, tablets have evolved fairly sophisticated touchscreen usage profiles that PCs, including mobile ones, still are far from matching.
Even the upcoming Windows 8 Metro GUI seems to be more optimised for a touchscreen mobile device than for a standard PC, where you're seemingly better off switching back to the old style user interface for daily use.
So, what can be done to harness the ongoing software optimisations for the tablet world and bring that to the ultrabook? The touchscreen ability is an obvious answer, however it has two interesting, though small, drawbacks.
Firstly, adding the touchscreen capability and related display circuitry on a closed clamshell type standard ultrabook might also add an extra millimetre or so of thickness. That might not sound like much, but on the Ultrabooks where every fraction of an inch counts in the competitive fight among the vendors to justify the price premiums with extreme thinness, this is a problem.
Secondly, unlike the tablets with their 16:10 or 4:3 display aspect ratios, ultrabooks are still relying on the 16:9 moviescreen format for their LCD screens, which, with all the scrolling up and down required to handle content, makes less sense for touchscreen use. Switching to the more productive formats mentioned above would, of course, solve this problem and make content creation oriented ultrabooks somewhat more productive overall, too.