Intel @ Computex 2011


From Netbooks to Ultrabooks

From Netbooks to Ultrabooks

Intel today introduced a new breed of laptops called Ultrabook. To the untrained eye, the new range of Ultrabook would look just like a regular laptop, but with a thinner and lighter design. But Intel's vision for Ultrabook does not just stop there, because Ultrabook is meant to be high performance mainstream notebooks with tablet-like features. 

As with all notebooks of the thin and light nature, Intel plans to position its latest range of Ultrabook with an affordable mainstream price tag at just under US$1,000. The Ultrabook will also be super-thin with thicknesses at less than 20mm (0.8-inch) and weighing probably about 1kg. Specifications-wise, you can expect these new laptops to feature the latest Intel 2nd Generation Intel Core processors (Sandy Bridge). Think of these as MacBook Air on adrenaline but at a terribly attractive price. With all of that going for the Ultrabook, Intel aims to shift as much as 40 percent of consumer laptop purchases to the Ultrabook category by the end of 2012. 

The Ultrabook idea is an ambitious plan but Intel has got to be in this thin and light game because that's what they are good at doing. With the upcoming Ivy Bridge processor based on the 22nm process technology using low leakage 3D transistors, we can expect these new chips to have even greater performance at lower levels of power consumption. Intel describes Ivy Bridge as the next step in the evolution of Ultrabook, with plans going further down their roadmap into 2013 with the next "Haswell" product. It remains to be seen just how quickly their only competitor, AMD, can keep up with Intel's attempt to shape the mobile computing trend by creating this new Ultrabook category.

The first set of Ultrabook systems based on the 2nd Generation Intel Core processors will be available in late 2011 (winter). We have already seen ASUS launching the UX21 yesterday and you can expect to see other brands launch similar models in the near future. We managed to catch a glimpse of other upcoming Ultrabook models as seen below. Exact specifications for these new Ultrabook laptops are still sketchy, but they are probably going to be based on some low voltage variants of the Core i5 and i7 processors.