Intel creates $300 million Ultrabook fund

Intel is putting its money behind the ultrabook bet with a $300 million fund from its venture capital unit.

Intel on Wednesday rolled out a $300 million investment fund designed to bolster the technology ecosystem surrounding its ultrabook designs.

The ultrabook, introduced at Computex, is designed to be similar to Apple's MacBook Air while blending together features found in laptops and tablets. What's unclear is whether the ultrabook will be the future of laptops or another netbook category that shines for a few years then fades.

Intel is putting its money behind the ultrabook bet and earlier this week rolled out reference designs to OEMs.

A reference spec for two devices goes like this:

  • An 18mm thick device with a screen size between 11-13-inches with a reference BOM (bill of materials) of between $475 - $650
  • A 21mm thick device with a 14-17-inch screen with a reference BOM (bill of materials) of between $493 - $710

The Intel Capital Ultrabook Fund will invest in hardware and software companies focused on user interface via sensors and touch, longer battery life, storage capacity gains and new designs. The fund will invest the $300 million over three to four years.

The chip giant is planning the ultrabook rollout in three phases. First it will roll out its latest Intel Core chips. The next chip family, dubbed Ivy Bridge, will roll out in the first half of 2012. These chips are designed to improve the power and performance equation.

According to Intel, the PC industry has been collaborating on the ultrabook effort.