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The Year of the Ultrabook and Intel AppUp

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A few short months ago I met with Mark Miller of Intel (Director of Communication – Netbook and Tablet Group). We spent time discussing tablets and netbooks that would soon be hitting the market and we also spoke about Intel AppUp. In short, AppUp is the newest app store on the block – it runs on Windows computers (similar to what the Mac App Store does) and many smart phones (Android and Windows phones).

Apps are what I do – I write about them, market them, evaluate them for companies, and consume them just for the fun of it. When Mark shared AppUp with me, I was surprised I’d never heard of it before. In the following months, nearly everyone I spoke to about AppUp hadn’t heard of it either.

Now I know that Intel was playing it smart.

As I mentioned several weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending CES International this year. The technology presented by thousands of companies at the event was jaw-dropping, entertaining and almost unbelievable. I was very interested to see what Intel would be unveiling at the massive event.

During the keynote address, Paul Otellini (CEO of Intel) unveiled a surprising number of products Intel has been cooking up with partner companies. One of the stars of the show was something they called the Ultrabook™. In short, they’re much like the PC version of Apple’s MacBook Air – they’re ultra responsive and ultra sleek. Once I got the chance to see several of these Ultrabooks up close, I saw they weren’t kidding around – these laptops are super skinny and very fast.

If you’re looking to buy one of these hot new computers, here are a few to keep your eye out for: Acer Aspire S3, ASUS ZENBOOK™, Lenovo IdeaPad U300 or the Toshiba Portégé Z830 Series. All of these offer varying 2nd generation Intel Core™ i5 or i7, weigh less than 3 lbs, respond from sleep in 7 seconds or less, display Intel HD graphics, and offer between 5-8 hours of battery life.

I spent some time testing out these Ultrabooks™ – I’m a skeptic by nature and like to thoroughly test things before coming to a conclusion. I wasn’t disappointed – each machine is seductively sleek and incredibly fast. Each one stayed quite cool during demanding performance tasks as well. My conclusion? Ultrabooks look very promising and are an exciting, affordable computing option for parents and students alike.

 

Enter Intel AppUp. Let’s face it – CD-ROMs are becoming almost obsolete. Apps are the way to go – no more running from store to store trying to pick up the latest hard copy of software. The convenience of downloading software from an app store is delightfully stress-free. Intel AppUp brings thousands of popular games, educational resources, utility apps and much more to PC and smartphone users.

Curious as to the reason Intel had held off on a massive ad campaign to push consumer awareness about the new app store, I asked Gunjan Rawal (of the Intel AppUp team) why AppUp had been relatively low-key until now. She explained that Intel has been focusing on building AppUp, bringing developers on board, making the app submission process user-friendly for developers and, ultimately, waiting for the release of the Ultrabook™. Their patience and hard work has paid off – now PC users who have bemoaned the lack of a Mac App Store equivalent have their answer. Consumers will be impressed at the number of apps already available on AppUp – and Angry Birds fans will breathe a sigh of relief to know their favorite game is alive and well there.

Apple has been such a huge force in the world of personal computing as of late and most companies are stepping up their game to heat up the competition and often price their products at a more affordable range.

What about you? Will you be picking up an Ultrabook this year? Have you delved into the world of Intel AppUp on your PC? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Hannah Camacho is an educator, mom to three wonderful children ages 3 and younger and proud wife of an Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran. She is the founder of MyAppinions.com and TheAppNanny.com. When she’s not chasing her three busy little ones, she does freelance work for application developers as a mobile app marketing and pr specialist.

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