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According to news sources, the Intel Corporation has announced a new $300 million Ultrabook Fund to encourage the aggressive entry of this lightweight, ultra thin category of new laptops into the marketplace to compete directly with the Macbook Air.
Trademarked by Intel, the Ultrabook is estimated to be about 20 mm thick, will utilize Core i5, i7 processors, and is expected to have about 5 to 8 hours of battery life. The product is seen as the industry’s answer to the highly popular, high-end, Macbook Air.
The highly anticipated, ultraportable laptops are expected to make a huge splash in the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, with about 50 new Ultrabook models expected to be introduced during the show, according to news sources.
Microsoft’s new touch-based OS platform, Windows 8, is also expected to fuel the growth of Ultrabooks, which are reportedly expected to reach 40 percent of all laptop sales by the end of 2012, according to Intel.
Intel CEO, Paul Otellini said that Windows 8 would contribute to the success of Ultrabooks once the operating system is released during the second half of 2012. “Starting with Windows 8, you have a mainstream operating system incorporating touch. Our view is that in the ultrabook lines, touch is a pretty critical enabler. When users see that new Windows interface, they’re going to want to touch it. If the screen does nothing, you have disappointed [the] consumer,” Otellini said.
In large part, the new Ultrabooks will be competing on price, with the $300 million Ultrabook Fund expected to help keep down the cost of components and manufacturing expenses.
Otellini stressed the importance of competitive pricing for the new Ultrabooks.
“And in order for us to have an excited consumer at $699 and $799 price points, you have to be able to accelerate the reduction in [touch] cost. That’s the kind of investment we’ll make around the Ultrabook Fund.
With Apple rumored to be releasing a new 15” Macbook Pro “retina” display capable entry to the marketplace during the second quarter of 2012, it may just be that the industry will become more competitive.
Expect the battle for the new laptop category to heat up in earnest in the years ahead. Let us know what you think of the new Ultrabooks, and whether or not you believe they can effectively compete with Apple’s laptops.
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