When Apple’s original MacBook Air debuted—and raised eyebrows everywhere—industry watchers figured it wouldn’t be long until other PC makers jumped on the ultra-thin notebook bandwagon. However, while the MacBook Air line is still going strong, the luster seems to have fallen off ultrathin notebooks for two major PC manufacturers: first Dell cancels its Adamo notebook line after substantially discounting their prices, and now Hewlett-Packard has done exactly the same thing: after dropping the Envy 13’s price at the end of 2010, the ultrathin notebook is now gone from HP’s product line.
The HP Envy 13 and sibling Envy 15 were clearly designed to compete with Apple’s MacBook Air, and when they debuted in 2009 were the only ultrathin notebooks to eschew Intel’s integrated graphics controllers for higher-performance graphics capabilities supplied by ATI (now fully-subsumed into the AMD brand). HP Envy fans got good mileage out of the systems by replacing the somewhat anemic standard hard disk drives HP included with the units with solid-state drives. Both Apple and Dell eventually standardized on SSDs for their ultrathin notebooks.
The success of the 2010 edition of the MacBook Air leads some industry watchers to speculation that HP and Dell are merely taking a breather from the ultrathin market, rather than withdrawing: low-power versions of Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge CPUs seem to hold good promise for highly portable systems. However, neither Dell nor Hewlett-Packard have announced anything that directly competes with Apple’s ultrathin notebooks.
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