Intel’s Ultrabooks to cost around $1,000 on launch

Intel’s Ultrabooks to cost around $1,000 on launch

San Francisco: The world’s largest chip-maker Intel Corporation, on Thursday, said the new ‘Ultrabook’ devices being developed with its technology will initially cost around $1,000, but the price tag should fall below $799 in coming years.

Such a price tag would bring Ultrabooks - which are billed as being slimmer, faster and lighter than conventional notebook PCs - closer to tablet devices in terms of pricing, although Intel does not expect the computing devices to be in direct competition, as they cater to different categories of consumers with different requirements.

“Initially, the Ultrabooks should be priced in the sub-$1,000 (Rs 45,000) category. But the prices should come below $799 and even further lower in the coming years," Intel vice-president and general manager of the personal computer (PC) client group, Mooly Eden, said. Speaking to journalists at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2011, Eden said the price tag of around $1,000 could be too expensive for consumer’s budgets, but the ultimate objective was to make Ultrabooks available at a price that works for users.

Banking on emerging markets like India, China and Brazil to drive continued growth in sales of PCs, technology giant Intel says “the new kid on the block", Ultrabooks, would herald a transformation in the market.

Intel expects to kick off the first phase of the roll-out of Ultrabooks later this year with its second-generation Core processors, followed by third-generation ‘Ivy League’ processor-powered Ultrabooks next year and Intel’s next-generation Haswell processors in the third and final phase in 2013.

PC-makers are expected to start selling Ultrabooks in the United States (US) market this holiday season and the product should be available in other parts of the world around the same time. The final price of these computers, either for the US or other markets, including India, would be determined by the computer manufacturers.

Eden said that Ultrabooks were set to bring about a revolution in the market and this transformation would be complete by 2013, when Ultrabooks would be available with Intel’s next-generation Haswell microprocessors. The Haswell chips would reduce power usage in computers by more than 20 times, as well as enhance other capabilities, he added. These processors would help the computer give the users 10 days of connected standby battery life and the “the most complete and satisfying computing experience."

Eden said Intel was working hard on the next generation of processors, even as its second-generation Core processor, launched earlier this year, has emerged as a major success. “Till date, Intel has shipped 75 million 2nd generation Intel Core processors, making it the fastest-shipping processor in the company’s history," he noted.

Eden dismissed suggestions that Ultrabooks would eat into the share of tablet PCs or other computing devices and said that various kinds of devices, such as smart phones, tablets and Ultrabooks, had their own functions and usefulness. Eden said he expects the Ultrabooks to eventually become the mainstream computing devices for the users and his estimate for initial years was for 40% of traditional notebook PC users to move to Ultrabooks.

Growth in PC sales was high in markets like India as well, as per a presentation given by Eden at the IDF. Eden said that growing personal income levels in these emerging markets would drive the growth in the PC market, which has gone through several transformations in decades past.

“The PC has changed itself several times, first in 1995, there was a transformation from enterprise usage to consumers, when PCs emerged as a major multimedia device. Then, in 2003, the notebooks or laptops brought in the mobility factor," Eden said.