updated 11:15 pm EDT, Wed September 7, 2011
First wave of Intel ultrabooks veer above 1K
Intel is having limited success getting PC builders' early ultrabooks under the $1,000 benchmark set by the MacBook Air if industry contact updates are accurate. The processor designer is trying to bring costs down by focusing not just on fiberglass but on plastic. Even skipping the aluminum-magnesium alloys due to costs and shortages, the early ultraportables from Acer, Lenovo, and Toshiba were all said by Digitimes to be getting real-world prices over the intended target.
At one presentation, Intel reportedly drove home its point on fiberglass and had Mitac on stage. The material supposedly costs half as much as real metal. Acer, ASUS, and Lenovo are all believed to have signed on, although some of their ultrabooks, like ASUS' UX21, have metal shells.
The category is widely presumed to exist out of Intel's concern that notebooks will keep declining in the face of the iPad and other tablets without taking on some of their attributes. Ultrabooks have to measure under 0.8 inches and produce long battery life while still using faster processors. Apple largely invented the concept and is so far the only one to have produced mainstream sales, selling hundreds of thousands each month.
Others trying to compete with Apple are rumored to be very hesitant and making production runs of under 50,000 at first that largely cede the market to the Air.