Ultrabook vendors will have to work harder to persuade CIOs of the benefits of their slimmed-down laptops, because the hefty price tag is failing to impress members of TechRepublic's CIO Jury.
Ultrabooks are the latest laptop innovation - thinner, faster-booting and less power-hungry than a standard laptop, and still packing plenty of processing power for everyday tasks. But the lightweight notebooks, which aim to take on Apple's MacBook Air, aren't cheap - and the high prices may put off some less style-conscious buyers.
And when asked, "Are you planning to roll out Ultrabooks in your organisation?", TechRepublic's CIO Jury voted no by 11 votes to one, suggesting that Ultrabook vendors need to do more to explain the business benefits of what is perceived to be a luxury item.
The high cost of Ultrabooks was seen by many CIOs as a factor in holding them back from rolling out the thin laptops.
Kevin Quealy, director of information services and facilities, Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, said: "We will not look at Ultrabooks until the prices come down in line with laptops. Right now our guys use good laptops and tablets to accomplish what they need. I'm also dubious about the performance of Ultrabooks compared with laptops until I have a chance to test."
Similarly, James Salmon, CIO, BPP Group & University College described Ultrabooks as "insufficiently powerful".
Madhushan Gokool, IT manager at Storm Models, added: "The hefty price tag is definitely not a good thing."
Tim Stiles, CIO at Bremerton Housing Authority, said: "We see no productivity gains associated with the Ultrabook platform", while Ian Auger, head of IT and communications at ITN, said, "Like any mobile technology, we will test and see if the benefits justify the price increment."
Some tech chiefs are more interested in other form factors. Mike Roberts, IT director at The London Clinic, said: "For us, the movement is away from this type of device. We are looking at tablets and specific devices like barcode readers and RFID wands", and Graham Yellowley, technology lead equities at financial clearing house LCH, said: "iPads are the new corporate tool, not Ultrabooks."
Mike Wright, head of technology, Man Group, said there is currently "no business use" and no great demand from staff for Ultrabooks.
However, some CIOs are interested in the new hardware. Jürgen Renfer, CIO at German insurance organisation Kommunale Unfallversicherung Bayern, said: "We plan to roll out some for the VIP and VIP-VIP users, but [we're still] waiting for a second generation of them: lower prices and early-adopter issues will be fixed."
And Afonso Caetano, CIO at J Macêdo, said: "Here in Brazil there is still no availability of models or suppliers as desired to allow an appropriate choice for the company-wide adoption. On the other hand, we will start with an introduction of some machines for use by board of directors as soon as possible."
This week's TechRepublic CIO Jury is:
- Ian Auger, head of IT and communications, ITN
- Madhushan Gokool, IT manager, Storm Models
- Gavin Megnauth, director of operations, Morgan Hunt
- Kevin Quealy, director of information services and facilities, Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia
- Jürgen Renfer, CIO, Kommunale Unfallversicherung Bayern
- Mike Roberts, IT director, The London Clinic
- Tim Stiles, CIO at Bremerton Housing Authority
- Richard Storey, head of IT at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.
- James Salmon, CIO, BPP Group & University College
- David Thomson, IT and communications manager at Rice & Dore Associates.
- Mike Wright, head of technology, Man Group
- Graham Yellowley, technology lead equities at financial clearing house LCH
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Steve Ranger is the UK editor of TechRepublic, and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, business and culture for more than a decade. Before joining TechRepublic he was the editor of silicon.com.