Intel working hard to keep Ultrabook pricing lower than $1,000

Intel working hard to keep Ultrabook pricing lower than $1,000

Summary: Despite Intel's lofty claims that its new Ultrabook platform of super-slim laptops would account for 40 percent of the notebook market by the end of the next year, it's been dogged by some issues as manufacturers work to get the first Ultrabooks out the door. The most notable one is the price tag, and the chip giant is stepping up efforts to show that the laptops don't need to cost more than $1,000.

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Despite Intel's lofty claims that its new Ultrabook platform of super-slim laptops would account for 40 percent of the notebook market by the end of the next year, it's been dogged by some issues as manufacturers work to get the first Ultrabooks out the door. The most notable one is the price tag, and the chip giant is stepping up efforts to show that the laptops don't need to cost more than $1,000.

That price point is important for a number of reasons, not least of which is that the cheapest MacBook Air costs $999. There have been rumored complaints by laptop manufacturers that given the cost of materials, Ultrabooks would cost more than $1,000 out of the gate. But according to DigiTimes, Intel has provided those vendors a bill of materials for two different Ultrabook flavors, showing that component costs can range from $475 to $650 for 21mm Ultrabooks and $493 to $710 for 18mm flavors. The company is also planning to meet with manufacturers to work on controlling costs to keep the price under a grand -- though those same manufacturers have griped that Intel's pricing of its own parts is a big reason for the high projected costs.

Ultrabooks have hit one other snag, perhaps thanks to Apple itself. Vendors are facing a shortage of the magnesium-aluminum chassis that Intel wants used for Ultrabooks, which is leading them to consider using fiberglass chassis instead. Apple has most likely gobbled up all those chassis for itself,as the two major suppliers of the metal chassis are also suppliers to Apple. The one good thing about using fiberglass rather than metal: the Ultrabooks may cost about $20 cheaper.

While major manufacturers like Asus and HP appear onboard with Ultrabook production, at least one other vendor is skeptical of the platform: Acer's founder, Stan Shih, has dubbed the new laptops a "fad." If Intel and its partners can keep them priced below the MacBook Air that might not be the case, but there's plenty of skepticism floating around about whether Ultrabooks will be the future of notebooks or not.

Topics: Intel, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

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  • RE: Intel working hard to keep Ultrabook pricing lower than $1,000

    Intel will have to work quite hard (read advertise) to get the public really interested and ready to invest (read drop the bucks in this economy) in the "Ultrabook" label to get the manufacturers to put up the price in the tooling/manufacture/etc.
    MasterE1
  • W8 ultrabooks will be able to use ARM so intel chip prices wont be a issue

    Im also really liking the idea of duralumin cases instead of the magnesium aluminum.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Apparently you don't know the difference ....

      @Johnny Vegas .... between a NETbook and an ULTRAbook.

      Which explains a lot.
      wackoae
    • RE: Intel working hard to keep Ultrabook pricing lower than $1,000

      @Johnny Vegas
      As an owner of several aluminum Mac Books, I would rather have a carbon fibre case. Aluminum is too subject to dents and scratches.

      And, as we can see from the airplane manufacturers, carbon fibre has a higher strength/weight ratio than aluminum. So, the carbon fibre machines would be lighter.
      jorjitop
      • Aluminium vs carbon fibre

        @jorjitop I like carbon fibre too - it is lighter but not by that much. Part of the attraction in aviation is the ease with which complex shapes can be formed. In some the size of a computer, they're just machined from a billet so Aluminium is just as easy. Carbon Fibre can be brittle and hard to repair though - guess its all a compromise. Having played with a new Sangsung galaxy s2 phone recently, I can tell you that plastic aint dead either!
        John in Brisbane
  • This article seems to show the MBA is a real accomplishment for Apple:)

    After all in one model or another it's been around for a few years now. And if a company as big and technologically advanced as Intel is having a difficult time with an inexpensive ultrabook (In this day and age) then it stands to reason Apple has done something right! Right?

    Pagan Jim
    James Quinn
    • RE: Intel working hard to keep Ultrabook pricing lower than $1,000

      @James Quinn Or, Apple has a brand that people equate with something they're looking for.

      Face it, more people probably buy a computer on the Apple name than anything else.
      slickjim
      • RE: Intel working hard to keep Ultrabook pricing lower than $1,000

        @Peter Perry <br>For goodness sakes, brand development is done by every company that wants to stay in business - very one from Coca-Cola to MS, from Google to Ford, from Ubuntu to Burger King. Yes, people buy Apple because of its name and reputation as do people buy MS, Coca-Cola or Pepsi ande every other product on the face of the planet!
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

        @Peter Perry After all the MBA is what Intel is trying to develop NOW and Apple already is selling it and has so for several years now.. Right?

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • RE: Intel working hard to keep Ultrabook pricing lower than $1,000

        @Peter Perry Of course brand is important, but the point of this article is that Apple is not only first (by several years), but that ? unless Intel can find some serious cost savings ? they are also the price leader, which <i>is</i> news.
        S_Deemer
  • Apple is using Intel cpu NOW.

    @Pagan jim <br>You are clueless.<br><br>Old MBA uses su9600, which is Intel 10w processor -- good, but not great. I have one HP having the same CPU too. The single processor costs aroung $500 then.

    Still not sure what 21mm/18mm means in this article?
    ZenithY
    • Granted minus the ever so classy insult:)

      @ZenithY However that still does not explain why Intel still struggles to create an Ultrabooh (Which the MBA clearly is) at around the same price that the MBA is selling at now. Again I say if Intel is struggling and Apple is selling then obviously Apple is doing something right:). Oh and one more thing there must be more to making an Ultrabook than simply it's processor and maybe that is where Intel struggled?

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
  • RE: Intel working hard to keep Ultrabook pricing lower than $1,000

    Macbook Air is really slow though. I wouldn't want a small but slow laptop, especially for alot of money. I would rather get a cheap and slow laptop for a useless purpose like monitoring or tuning my car.
    Jimster480
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