And here come the Ultrabooks. Intel's much-hyped alternative to the MacBook Air is finally reaching the market, with Acer launching its first Ultrabook today.
At $899, the Aspire S3 Ultrabook comes in well below the magic $1,000 price point that could blunt consumer interest. For that price you get a 2.98-pound system that's 0.51 inches thick at its thinnest point, with a 13.3-inch, 1,366x768 resolution display. You also get an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of memory, and both a 20GB solid-state drive and a 320GB hard drive.
Acer also promises a number of conveniences to help the S3 Ultrabook compete with the Air. Making use of that SSD drive, the Green Instant On feature can wake up the system from Sleep mode in just 2 seconds. When the laptop goes into Deep Sleep mode (after 8 hours of nonuse), it can wake in 6 seconds. Instant Connect Technology allows you to connect to the Internet from Sleep Mode in a mere 2.5 seconds.
The S3 Ultrabook promises 6 hours of battery life for continuous activity, and a whopping 50 days of standby power. Acer also says it's tweaked the notebook's construction to dissipate heat more efficiently, even after it removed the bottom vent. We'll wait for the reviews to find out how those claims work out in real-world usage.
While $899 is still pricey for many buyers who don't want to spend more than $500 on a new laptop, the Aspire S3 Ultrabook is certainly priced to compete with the MacBook Air -- and other Ultrabooks. Does its announcement make you more likely to consider purchasing an Ultrabook? Let us know in the Talkback section.