The MacBook Air has for long been held out as a benchmark for sleek laptops. But nothing lasts forever, as they say. Imagine laptops that could make the MacBook Air look relatively bulky in comparison.
Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon S4 chip may soon enable such laptops which will run on the Windows 8 operating system. These laptops will be lighter and slimmer than any existing laptops – the “ultrabooks” included.
The chips are based on an ARM core, and are designed to support high-resolution screens. The graphics card and modem will be integrated into the core. Always-on connectivity will be another feature.
To top it all, these laptops won’t guzzle as much power as current laptops to; this means longer battery life and hence a lower carbon footprint.
All this makes for very interesting developments in the market for computing devices, because boundaries are blurring between laptops, smartphones and tablets. Many smartphones and most tablets can do more than what laptops could do just a few years ago. This trend will only likely continue.
But it’s not as if Apple will rest on its laurels and surrender its hard-fought leadership position in the market. It is expected that a thinner and lighter MacBook Pro is just around the corner; it may even come with the retina display that would bring it closer to the new iPad.
In the past, many companies promised such breakthrough products only to disappoint. Indeed, Qualcomm itself is a good three years behind schedule via-a-vis what it had promised a couple of years ago. We’ll just have to watch this space.