updated 11:20 pm EDT, Thu August 4, 2011
Intel ultrabook spec gets reference parts cost
Intel has developed a ready-made spec for ultrabook part costs to help placate Windows PC builders who complain they can't compete on price with Apple, notebook designers slipped out late Thursday. The raw bill of materials, before assembly, is supposedly between $475 and $650 for thicker 0.8-inch models and $493 to $710 for systems at the thinner 0.7 inches of the MacBook Air ultra books are designed to imitate. Five templates exist for the thinner category Digitimes saw, with the ASUS UX21 and larger UX31 matching that spec.
A meeting is rumoured under way next week that would gauge how well the bill of materials lines up with what PC builders wanted to see. Intel and the initial partners are all known to be aiming for starting prices below $1,000 even with requirements like metal shells and solid-state drives.
Near-future plans may have been elaborated by the sources as well. Up to and including ultrabooks based on Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge 22 nanometer processors, all of the 11- to 13-inch models most closely following Apple's formula have to be no thicker than 0.7 inches. Manufacturers can still make an ultrabook at 14 to 17 inches, and at that size have the leeway to increase the thickness to 0.8 inches.
The first Windows ultrabooks are due to reach shelves in September, when the UX21 ships, with companies like Acer and HP joining in later. Intel hasn't publicly stated its reasons behind embracing the concept but did so only after the late 2010 MacBook Air suddenly became popular. The semiconductor firm has been looking for a way to keep ultraportable notebooks relevant as tablets eat away at the PC market and may have used Apple's concept of a very thin and lightweight, instant response, long-lived system as a way of offering some of the tablet experience in a conventional computer.