John Taylor, Director of Global Product Marketing at AMD, just published an official post over at the AMD blog entitled: ‘Does an Ultrabook™ by any other name smell as sweet?’ In it, Taylor takes issue with Intel’s Ultrabook campaign and wishes that Intel would let OEMs alone to make their own decisions.
Taylor makes a good point about the nature of raw performance vs. practical application and asserts that a subset of people aren’t looking at the big picture, claiming that these people have a “CPU-bigot view”:
There actually were a fair number of articles and reviews that completely ignored points one and two above, to focus exclusively on one dimension of APU performance, forgetting video, forgetting games and forgetting app acceleration; let’s talk x86. Or more specifically, let’s talk about older workloads that can be isolated on the CPU to spit out a number which can be converted into a bar chart. Here’s how those articles sound to me: “Can the bigger or shorter bar be actually experienced by the user of the system? In any meaningful way? IRRELVANT! Look at the size of the bar! Look at the number this benchmark is producing!” A good example of how reviews like this get converted into sensationalized roundup headlines is this Barron’s piece. “AMD will largely compete on price rather than performance,” it reads. The author is unfortunately, in my opinion, missing the point: what about the quality of the entertainment experience, or better battery life, or maximum Internet acceleration, or fast photo and video editing? This opinion, like the example above, is all about “big bar charts”.
While this may be a good point, Taylor goes on to complain that Intel’s Ultrabook campaign is not where the market should go:
The world’s biggest semiconductor company has trademarked a name to build a separate category for its flavor of thin notebooks and if OEMs want to benefit from and be included in a big advertising campaign they need to use this trademark.
As for AMD’s view? Let the OEMs control their brand, own the end-user experience, and we at AMD will worry about creating processor designs that anticipate where the market is going across experience, device industrial design, and power. To that end, premium ultrathins, mainstream ultrathins, and value ultrathins all sound just great to us. So do “Sleekbooks”!
Taylor jeers at the idea of the ‘Ultrabook’ with some humorous new categories of ‘Blank Books’ to “keep splintering up the notebook market”:
HookBook: Cylindrical battery serves dual-purpose of fishing line spool for up to 500 yds. Of 18 lb. test; optical drive includes optional drink coozy mount; Integrated Sonar “Bass Finder” replaces GPS.
BleakBook: Comes in Coal Ash Gray finish; pre-loaded e-reader app features the master works of Charles Dickens.
FreakBook: Available only in California and Colorado, this is the perfect portable PC when you want to let your freak flag fly. Pre-loaded Twitter app with bio-rhythm detector tweets all your followers when you feel a freak flag coming on.
It’s tough to argue with allowing OEMs to control their brand, but when I stop to look at what Intel has done with Ultrabooks, I must say that they’ve accomplished something really great for consumers. By offering OEMs the opportunities to be included in marketing campaigns and other benefits (not to mention manufacturing the guts of their products!), so long as the OEMs meet a few expectations, Intel has absolutely revitalized the laptop market. Far from locking down the thin and light segment, Intel seems to be stimulating it; just look at all of the incredible Ultrabooks that were just announced! I would argue that Intel is proving to be a force working for the consumer: performance, features, and satisfaction is going up and price is going down. As long as Intel continues using the Ultrabook campaign to benefit the consumer, Ultrabooks will prosper.
We’re very interested to hear what our readers think. Please have a read through Taylor’s article (it’s not too long, don’t worry!) and let us know your thoughts. Is Taylor just jealous of Intel, or is there merit to his arguments?