When Steve Jobs unveiled the slim but powerful Macbook Air, it was as if a magician had pulled a flailing rabbit out of a hat. Everyone was amazed at how laptop technology had moved forward, and instantly the latest Macbook Air became a massive success.
The Macbook Air might be an awesome product, but there are currently no alternatives for folks who don’t want to get converted to the Apple religion. But don’t get disappointed just yet; come Q4 2011, Intel will be bringing us the new revolution in computing called Ultrabooks.
Touted as the direct competitor to Macbook Air, Intel’s ambitious project will leave no stone unturned to prove itself in the not-so-dead laptop market. While it is not confirmed as to which operating system manufacturers will be using, there is a high chance that Windows 7 will be the one.
However, we here at TechSource believe that running Ubuntu 11.10 (or higher) on Ultrabooks might actually be more profitable. Here’s why:
Old friends: Intel and Linux
Have you ever used an Intel desktop with Linux? If so, I’d wager that you rarely had any major issues with the drivers. This is because, unlike NVIDIA and ATI, Intel’s graphics drivers are open source, making Intel-based graphic cards a heaven to work with. Also, Intel has been making significant contributions to the open source world, thus making it a great chum of penguin. Ubuntu, which almost runs flawlessly on Intel desktops, will be a great contender for the OS spot on these lightweight monsters. If any of the Ultrabook manufacturers managed to see potential in Ubuntu 11.10, there are chances that it’ll make our dreams come true.
The Macbook Air costs around a $1000. Now, to beat a price like that, Intel has to do a lot of hard work, especially if it is serious about taking up 40% of the laptop market. Intel has announced that the Ultrabooks will be low-cost and may cost less than a $1000. If Intel somehow gets Ubuntu on its devices, they could save a lot of money. If manufacturers are planning to market it as a low-cost device, they should play hardball with Microsoft. With the “professional” versions of Windows 7 priced very high, they will have to make some tough choices as to which operating system they use. Of course, we know that Windows 7 is going to take the spot anyway, but some manufacturers can get innovative and use Ubuntu on them. Using Ubuntu will significantly lower the price making the product much more affordable.
If you’ve seen the latest screenshots of 11.10, it’s way different from the Unity we all whined about. The interface has changed a lot, and yes it looks quite classy so to speak. As far as the stability goes, only time will tell. Nevertheless, Unity is quickly maturing into something that can actually deliver in the tech market. Now is the perfect time to invest in Ubuntu.
The Windows 8 killer
Intel is currently eyeing Windows 8 that is yet to be released. Well, since it’s a Microsoft product, there are some pretty good chances that they’ll screw up badly this time. The new experimental UI, no matter how modern it is, might not go down well with many users. Ubuntu can become the perfect alternative to Windows 8, if somehow Canonical manages to make Unity stable enough for mass consumption.
Sell it like the droid
With Android’s huge success, the tech industry has finally seen that Linux is something that can gain massive mainstream popularity. If the investors somehow manage to see things from this angle, Ubuntu could surely end up on an Ultrabook someday.
Finally, it’s Linux the beast as we know it
We all know that Linux can make a low-spec machine run like a marathon champ without making us pay a single penny. Manufacturers can make those i5 processors run to their full potential by putting Ubuntu on their devices. A normal user who has used Windows before might be pleasantly surprised at the performance capabilities of Ubuntu and Linux in general.
Ultrabooks will be released around the end of 2011, and many people have already dissed off the idea of them being a success. However, there are others who believe that Intel will pull it off and takeover most of the laptop market. Whatever the case maybe, we definitely want to see at least one manufacturer going with Ubuntu. I’ve got my fingers crossed!
Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.