The ultrabooks are coming, Intel pushes forward with $300 million fund

By on August 11, 2011, 9:30 AM

Intel is getting more serious on their intent to drive sales of "Ultrabooks" in the upcoming holiday season and beyond. We had reported earlier on rumors that the chip giant was paying first-tier notebook vendors to develop Ultrabooks, but with the fund announcement they are making it official and demanding upfront more innovation from manufacturers with their next wave of thin and light laptops.

Intel plans to invest the funds in the next 3 to 4 years, aiming to invest in manufacturers that innovate on hardware design and software that can improve users' experience and enhance battery life. A three phase strategy begins as soon as this year with ultrabooks powered by current 2nd Gen Core processors (Sandy Bridge). Then next year we'll see the release of Ivy Bridge which is slated to bring improved power efficiency and a modest performance boost on both CPU and GPU sides. A third step is planned for 2013 with "Haswell", the true successor to the Sandy Bridge architecture.

Intel unveiled design guidelines for the new ultrabook category a few months ago with the goal to combine thin and light form factors with tablet features such as touchscreens and instant-on capabilities. We are already seeing some of these characteristics in today's most popular ultraportables, like Samsung's 9 Series, the MacBook Air and ThinkPad X220, so our initial take on the guidelines was that up to an extent the ultrabooks are just natural progression within the ultraportable category.

To be fair though, Intel is touting models that sell for less than $1,000 and (we assume) will carry solid state drives to comply with the instant-on features. A recent report indicated that basic ultrabook hardware could cost as little as $475 to manufacturers.

“Celebrating 30 years of innovation, the PC is the ultimate Darwinian device and Intel is striving to again reinvent mobile computing,” said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of Intel’s PC Client Group. “In 2003, the combination of Intel’s Centrino technology with built-in WiFi, paired with Intel Capital’s $300 million in venture investments and other industry enabling efforts, ushered in the shift from desktop PCs to anytime, anywhere mobile computing. Our announcement today is about Intel mobilizing significant investments to achieve the next historic shift in computing.”

You might recall how Centrino became a buzzword in the early 2000s and suddenly everybody was looking to buy a new Intel Centrino, Wi-Fi enabled laptop. If Intel is right and this is anything like 2003 then sure, we are up for a nice revamp of the notebook market. Most importantly it will be interesting to see where the market goes once you get both laptops and tablets that are very portable, equally convenient, and are selling for similar prices.




User Comments: 8

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lalaman lalaman said:

i am totally craving for one of these ultrabooks right now =\

Guest said:

At least Intel is putting money where it's mouth is.

Assuming price is right, I can see this being a winner.

Guest said:

i ' m waiting for that ultrabooks for a long time :D:D i m really excited to have one..

w3b0n said:

ultra thin, silky designs, high definition, long battery lifetime, less than 1000 dollars.

this is a YES!

Win7Dev said:

w3b0n said:

ultra thin, silky designs, high definition, long battery lifetime, less than 1000 dollars.

this is a YES!

Only if they put in quadcore i7's. I have yet to see an ultrathin with a quadcore or even 2.0Ghz+ dual core.

Jibberish18 said:

My next laptop is probably going to be a Ultrabook. I am NOT going bigger than 13.3" (never have) and I won't make the mistake of buying something as heavy as the White Plastic Body Macbook. I guess I'm going for mobility, seeing it's a laptop and all. If I was going to have something like a 15" for more power, I'd rather just get a desktop. Just my feelings.

Leeky Leeky said:

Only if they put in quadcore i7's. I have yet to see an ultrathin with a quadcore or even 2.0Ghz+ dual core.

The two don't really go hand in hand with ultraslim and power efficiency, e.g. long battery life.

A 2GHz+ i7 quad is going to eat power up, and make it useless for its purpose in my opinion.

Win7Dev said:

What I'm saying is that there needs to be more quadcore laptops or at least 3Ghz+ dualcores (baseclock, not w/ turbo boost). I honestly would just like a thinner (.5 inch when closed) 17" laptop w/ ~2.4Ghz up to ~3.5Ghz i7 and 8gb of ram, ddr5 graphics card w/ ~60gb memory bandwidth, 1080p screen, and 4-6 hours battery life. That would be a perfect laptop for me. I would take the exact same specs in a 15.6" laptop as well. There is an overwhelming number of budget laptops, netbooks, and tablets, yet little to no professional grade or high end consumer laptops. Of course there are gaming laptops, but those are not meant for businesses or power users, strictly people who play games. I would be happy if they could make a "gaming" laptop with a normal looking design. Just sleek metal/aluminum and professional looking design. Just imagine if a 70 year old would look funny sitting in front of one, if they wouldn't it would probably be good for me. If they would, it would look to much like a typical gaming laptop.

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