Laptop manufacturers planning cheaper clones of high-priced Ultrabooks

Laptop manufacturers planning cheaper clones of high-priced Ultrabooks

Summary: Laptop makers are supposedly no longer waiting for Ultrabooks to reach more budget-friendly prices, and have decided to create cheaper models that mimic the design of the Intel notebook platform.


Like the look of the new Ultrabooks, but not ready to pony up the $1,000 or more that they cost? Notebook vendors feel your pain, and are apparently ready to do something about it for you.

According to Digitimes, laptop makers are no longer waiting for Ultrabooks to reach more budget-friendly prices, and have decided to create cheaper models that mimic the design of the Intel notebook platform. Component suppliers tell the site that vendors will make adjustments -- a.k.a. cheaper parts and updated designs -- to provide lower-cost versions. That could include using AMD processors instead of new Intel Ivy Bridge ones, an opening AMD would surely love to exploit.

The good news is that the Ultrabook look is apparently appealing to the masses enough that manufacturers want to fulfill their demand. The bad news, at least for Intel, is that its mobile chip customers appear ready to position the original Ultrabooks as high-end offerings, and their knock-offs as mainstream products. We've previously reported that Intel has sunk a lot of money into marketing the Ultrabook concept, but has tried to keep its profit margins high, which may be blowing up in its face a bit if these report are accurate.

Would you buy an Ultrabook-like laptop instead of the real deal? Why or why not? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Topics: Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • The future isn't ultrabooks

    I've seen the future of ultra-portable computing, and it's not ultrabooks. The future is the form factor pioneered by ASUS with the Transformer series: super thin, super light tablets with well integrated keyboard docks. Once Windows 8 for ARM is released I predict that these sorts of devices will pretty much represent the nail in the coffin for consumer interest in the intel based laptops.
  • Real Information?

    Since the manufacturers are the ones setting the prices on the products they sell, what were they waiting for to come out? What were they 'waiting on'? What specs are which manufacturers going to reduce to make this new 'lesser' class of non-ultrabooks?

    C'mon, give SOME sort of information.
  • AMD has the 3d graphics and overall right price/performance ratio

    AMD has the 3d graphics and overall right price/performance ratio. You don't need a discrete GPU with an AMD solution, but you will need a discrete GPU with an Intel solution because their integrated solution is deficient for 3d graphics and 3d gaming.

    Even more, AMD can make their integrated GPU work together with it's discrete GPU and make it work like a higher end GPU, while Intel needs NVIDIA GPU's and their solution does not work well together, one will be turned off, and creating other issues too.

    Hopefully Intel will come up with better and higher end GPU's that can match that of AMD. I got burned when I bought an Intel SandyBridge laptop and I could run any decent graphics. Marketing can be misleading sometimes.

    Looking forward to Ultrabooks and Ultraslim books from Intel and AMD, they should have a detachable screen that will be a tablet. Tablet is just a comfortable form factor when you don't need to type, but otherwise, you always need a keyboard and a mouse. A usable computer should include touch, keyboard, and mouse interfaces, all of which have existed forever but never put together in a widely commercial basis.
    • I agree...

      I have a high end intel laptop with 1gb nvidia optimus graphics card and just bought a AMD thin modeled laptop not quite a ultrabook but the performance is incredible. I don't even use the intel anymore. It runs hot, loud and slow compared the one I'm on now with AMD. The graphics is pure eye candy compared to the Nvidia model "doorstop" laptop which is only about 5 months old,

      The graphics card and cpu run seamlessly and like you said with both being made by the same vendor makes all the difference in the world. I burned thru at least 8 of those intel 3000 motherboards and all components don't work well together, Nvidia an Intel need to seriously work out the kinks.
  • I already have

    I didn't want to spend a lot of money just to get something that is so thin I'll be afraid to break it.

    What I bought (HP Pavilion dm1, 11.6" screen, AMD E450 APU) is thicker than ultrabook specs, but that gives me VGA and ethernet ports which are still useful in certain situations and it's rated at 10h30m on battery from the specs (not in real live but I still make 6-7 hours which is better than I ever did before).

    It also have a real harddrive so a lot of storage space for cheap (640gig). Most of the time I don't really care that Firefox loads in 0.2 seconds instead of 2 seconds, really does it really matter? I'm gonna be waiting for the web anyway which is much slower than my harddrive!

    I really don't understand all that craziness about having a very thin PC and pay twice the price for that.
    • True

      Preach on brother lepoete73, you speak the truth!!
    • Plus one

  • Already have something similar

    An ASUS UL30a - nice and cheap (UK <??300 ex tax) with a dual core 1.3GHz proc and a high res 13" screen and weighs about 1.5kg. I have never run out of charge in a day - it does at least 8 hrs. I travelled round Rwanda with it in a backpack and it has ben across Finland skiing with me. It is actually nearly as fast as the previous laptop 2 years older and is a good compromise when travelling.

    I only use a more powerful laptop now as a luggable for IT admin jobs when I need to. Would I pay $1000 for it - no. I will pay about 30% premium for something like this, and it looks like I am not alone.
  • Price point is everything

    With the sheer number of newer, mobile computing options being made available everyday, no OEM has the luxury to hike prices: there's just far too much competition in an already squeezed hardware sector.

    If those OEM's wanting to go the Ultrabook route are willing to get the prices to around $US700-800 mark, they could create a new, consistent revenue stream that buoys interest in Win 7 & 8 - and resurrect a decidedly flat, notebook & desktop market place for a few years yet.

    Ball's in your court wannabe Ultrabook vendors.
  • I think I have one.

    I bought a ThinkPad X120e (netbook) with the AMDE350 dual core processor and great itegrated Vision GPU. I installed 8GB RAM and a Momentus XT 750GB hybrid hard drive. It cost me about $600 and it totally blows the doors off any other netbook I've seen. Its 11.6" display is gorgeous.
  • what I want

    Is a Transformer on steroids. Keep the tablet portion as is (preferably with Win 8) but make the keyboard dock a fully functional laptop with all needed ports, extended battery, more RAM and full hard drive in it. I don't want to buy a laptop and a tablet. Give me one device that is both.
    • what I want vs. what you want

      I think you're on the right track leupole! But i would put out an even more modular line. Build the tablet portion with high and medium spec variants. Sell the keyboard with lite to medium specs, and then sell a keyboard with power specs (increased memory, storage, etc). Let me shop the device like I shop for a car (several configurations), and I'm there. A bit more expensive to market and distribute, but customers will get what they want.
    • thunderbolt

      makes that a reality if a manufacturer makes it happen.
  • So in a nutshell...

    Laptop manufacturers planning cheaper clones of high-priced Ultrabooks means that they are reintroducing netbooks??? Yeah... That will surely create some excitement... WOOHOO!!!!
    • speaking of nutshells

      ... that head of yours must be pretty dense, since you surely don't know what you're talking about

      [i]" ... Laptop manufacturers planning cheaper clones of high-priced Ultrabooks means that they are reintroducing netbooks??? "[/i]

      The screen real-estate range isn't that far removed from traditional notebooks: 13.3 " - 14 " (a 15 " Ultrabook is even rumored at a later date this year).

      Get a clue.
  • HP DM1 - Prior to Ultrabook

    Yeah, yeah Ultrabooks are sexy. I bought my HP DM1 E-350 a bit more than a year ago. I love this machine. It's not too bulky and works like a charm. Not horrendously fast but at least it can handle full HD content without breaking a sweat. I checked out a few Intel ultrabooks recently - my verdict - NAH....! Reason = $$$. But if there's an AMD trinity based ultrabooks (Looking forward in the coming months after the release of trinity of course), I'd get that in a heartbeat. It may not be as fast as the Ivys but it'll fly in the graphic department and far more cheaper.
    Faudzi Rahim Al-Junied
    • Graphics important

      I've got one of those HP dm1 but with the E-450 and it's great.

      These days, with HD videos, Aero desktop, web animation, etc. graphic performance is more important than CPU performance.

      If you can benchmark your CPU vs GPU usage on your PC, I'm pretty sure the GPU sees more action than the CPU most of the time, some AMD's APU which combines an ATI Radeon HD in the CPU is the best thing right now.

      Intel is strong on the CPU but is lacking on the graphic side (though I heard their new Intel Graphics HD is not bad but never tried). Intel also tends to sell their CPUs at a higher price than AMD's equivalent CPUs.

      This little HP dm1 I've got does most of time what I need. At work I'm provided a station for development and for on the road development I've got a huge Asus ROG Core i7 Quad 17" that's got all the power one can dream of but uses its battery as if it were a UPS (saves you in case of power failure but won't get you through a days work, not even to the first morning break :-).
    • mfaudzinr@ .. agree

      I'd be willing to upgrade to an Ultrabook at some point, but would tend to gravitate to an AMD/Radeon powered one - assuming they even eventuate further down the track.

  • Bring on the clones

    If someone makes an ultrabook clone that has an ultrabook's weight, as long as it runs as well as my old HP and is priced in the standard laptop range I'd probably get one. While my 4yr old HP is still up to the performance mark for what I need, I do get tired of lugging it around. I'm not interested in anything in the current ultrabook's price range, when the only thing that interests me is the weight saving, so I say, bring on the clones!
  • work at home

    as Tammy answered I'm dazzled that any body able to get paid $8241 in 4 weeks on the internet. did you read this site link makecash16.c om