Smartphones get all the ink and press their manufacturers could ever dream of. And no one ever met a tablet - especially one called iPad - that failed to turn heads. In fact our May-June 2012 issue recently covered tablets in the enterprise and we essentially came down with the conclusion that tablets are very likely going to replace laptops in the enterprise over the next five years. That said, laptops will never the less continue to play a vital enterprise role, and they will continue to become smaller, lighter and sleeker. Intel has coined the term “ultrabook” for this new breed of laptop - and is partnering with the laptop vendor community to physically define the characteristics of an ultrabook in order for a vendor to actually use the term.
Ultrabooks follow in the footsteps of Apple’s Mac Air, but they are all true Windows-based machines that will run Windows 8 once it becomes available. Over the next several years we anticipate that they will surge into enterprise laptop prominence and in the process very possibly prove themselves to be “tablet killers” and the ultimate in mobile hardware. In this issue we take a look at five early-stage ultrabooks, all of them running Windows 7. Turn to our cover story on page 12 for details.
Amidst all the noise of smartphones, tablets and ultrabooks, one additional mobile market segment continues to thrive - that of rugged mobile field devices. Rugged mobile hardware has been at the forefront of mobile technology for many years, and rugged mobile hardware has long been a proving ground for the use of mobile technology in the enterprise. In 2012 we are finding a renewed emphasis for deploying such hardware - especially as many older devices are now concluding their useful lifecycles. Although some companies are now looking at non-rugged devices as an alternative, the truth of the matter is that rugged hardware continues to be the only choice for most field service operations. Our rugged devices story, starting on page Rugged 1, tells you why.