HP has lifted the lid on its first ultrabook device, the HP Folio 13, which will go on sale early in 2012.
The 13-inch laptop, announced on Tuesday, is the first device from the manufacturer in the ultrabook category. Intel, which is putting its weight behind the form factor, first outlined an ultrabook in May as a ultra-thin and light device with "tablet-like" features.
The Folio will be priced at around £849 when it launches in the UK in "the beginning of February" 2012, HP said. It is scheduled to arrive in the US first, on 7 December.
It is aimed at business professionals on the move, HP said.
"With all-day battery life, users will no longer be saddled with carrying power adapters to charge their notebook, while a wide array of ports eliminates the need to carry cumbersome dongles," the company said in its announcement.
The Folio 13 has a 13.3-inch display, an Intel Core i5-2467M processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of solid-state drive storage, an HD webcam, and Ethernet and USB 3.0 ports. It also has a backlit keyboard, Intel Rapid Start Technology — for lower power consumption when not in use and faster resume — and HP CoolSense technology, which the company said results in a "noticeably cooler netbook".
It measures 18mm thick, in order to keep bulk down, and weighs 1.49kg.
It will last up to 9.5 hours off a single charge, according to HP.
For business users, the Folio 13 comes with the option of a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), an embedded security chip that protects email and other sensitive data on the device.
When it launches in the UK next year, the Folio 13 will go up against other ultrabook competitors such as the Asus UX31 Zenbook and the Lenovo IdeaPad U300s. By comparison, the UX31 Zenbook typically costs around £1,000 and has the same amount of on-board storage, the same size display and the same amount of RAM. However, it weighs a little less, at 1.3kg, and comes with a higher-spec 1.8GHz Intel i7 processor.
Ultrabook devices are also pitched against laptops such as the MacBook Air, which is priced from £849. However, a MacBook Air at this level only includes an 11-inch display, 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 CPU, 2GB RAM and 64GB of SSD storage.
The Folio 13 can be configured to ship with different versions of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system, including the professional edition aimed at businesses.
Intel is hoping that the ultrabook category will augment rather than replace the lightweight notebook and netbook categories. However, despite the combination of slimline design and top-end specs, some analysts and industry commentators have criticised the pricing of the devices, as many start from around £1,000.
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