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Intel starts $300m Ultrabook Fund to spur MacBook Air-alikes

updated 11:15 pm EDT, Wed August 10, 2011

Intel Capital raises 300m Ultrabook Fund

Intel's Capital division pledged itself to its ultrabook concept in earnest late Wednesday by starting up the Ultrabook Fund. A total of $300 million will go towards companies building the ultraportables as well as software to take advantage of them. The money will be spread over the course of the next three to four years.

The company was betting that ultrabooks would be an "important area for innovation" in computers as a whole, which were estimated to be worth $261 billion.

PC builders have already been working closely with Intel from the start and have been getting unusually direct guidelines for what they should use to make the thin-and-light PCs, including price ranges and the choice of materials. Depending on the screen size, ultrabooks should be no thicker than 0.7 or 0.8 inches and will often have real metal shells and solid-state drives.

Although it hasn't publicly acknowledged it so far, the spec is intended to get Windows PC builders making more exciting notebooks to offset the cannibalization effect from iPads and other tablets. Its direct template is the MacBook Air as it provides much of the portability and instant responsiveness of a tablet in a design that lets Intel steer users away from cheaper but lower-profit netbooks. The first known ultrabook, the ASUS UX21, is uncannily close in some respects to its Apple roots.





By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2002

    +7

    What was that saying...?

    ...don't bite the hand that feeds...? I'm sure there are a few unhappy customers @ the 'mothership' after this one...

  1. iphonerulez

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2008

    +10

    Atom debacle...

    Intel should never have continued building Atom processors for the crappy Windows netbooks. However, the flood the market with cheap junk strategy spurred them on to the race to the bottom where Apple found easy pickin's for iPad-craving consumers.

  1. global.philosopher

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010

    +13

    Look OK...

    For a Windows laptop it looks not too bad. Too bad ASUS have to refer to another company for inspiration rather than their own personnel.

    Can't wait for the next big Apple innovation so that I can see what ASUS have planned in the future.

  1. facebook_Charter

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Aug 2011

    +5

    Tablets and Ultrabook a Short-Term "Fad"?

    Acer founder Stan Shih has been in the spotlight lately, because of his comment that tablets like Ipad and ultrabooks like the Macbook Air and those created by other manufacturers like - Acer, are just "short-term phenomena" or "fad". If you can remember the Acer's last CEO Gianfranco Lanci left the company because of a dispute with Acer's board on the direction of company.

    I'm not so sure about tablets and ultrabooks being a "fad" if it was then other companies like Google, Microsoft Acer, HP, Toshiba, Dell, Motorola, RIM and more, will not be scrambling to launch their own brand of tablet and ultrabooks. Plus they won't be spending millions to billions of money, time, and man-power just to release a product that is considered a "fad".

  1. facebook_Charter

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Aug 2011

    0

    Tablets and Ultrabook a Short-Term "Fad"?

    Acer founder Stan Shih has been in the spotlight lately, because of his comment that tablets like Ipad and ultrabooks like the Macbook Air and those created by other manufacturers like - Acer, are just "short-term phenomena" or "fad". If you can remember the Acer's last CEO Gianfranco Lanci left the company because of a dispute with Acer's board on the direction of company.

    I'm not so sure about tablets and ultrabooks being a "fad" if it was then other companies like Google, Microsoft Acer, HP, Toshiba, Dell, Motorola, RIM and more, will not be scrambling to launch their own brand of tablet and ultrabooks. Plus they won't be spending millions to billions of money, time, and man-power just to release a product that is considered a "fad".

  1. macnnoel

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005

    +4

    @facebook_Charter

    Stan Shih is a fad.

  1. qazwart

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2001

    +6

    One Little Problem...

    This machine was designed before Apple's recent MBA upgrades. This i5 11" notebook was promised to be priced at "under $1000" and have an i5 processor. That was great when first announced and the MBA still had a Core 2 Dual chip, but the MBA now has a faster processor, backlit keyboard, and is also "less than $1000".

    ASUS is at a disadvantage. When someone thinks light and thin 11" full fledge PCs, they're already thinking of a MBA. That person is already on his way to the Apple store with the money in their pocket. ASUS has to catch that person's attention, and convince them to change their plans. "Hey look! A computer just like an Apple MacBook Air and at the same price from a second tier vendor!" is not going to do it.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010

    +2

    Intel is acting out of fear

    Why, exactly, would Intel need to blow $300 million to bribe its hardware partners to copy the MacBook Air? Because Intel is running scared. There is a rumor that Apple served notice to Intel: reduce your power consumption or we're taking our business elsewhere.

    But where would Apple go? There is a small chance that they could transition their laptops to ARM-based designs. But that would mean another long transition and x86 emulation until apps were ported.

    Or Apple could do a deal with AMD. They could use their hardware engineers to improve AMD's mobile SoCs the way they improved ARM's basic design. Intel would be left behind, Apple hardware would be further differentiated with better battery performance, and Windows would run better on Macs than on pee cees. The best of all worlds.

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