The day of the Ultrabook is nearly upon us and per Asustek chairman, Jonney Shih, the PC maker has five to six models on the bill for an October release. Prices are said to start out at $899 but also reach $1,999. That’s notably higher than Intel’s target price of $999 and under. Still, if Intel has its way, ultrabooks will be the next big thing in PC notebooks. The ultra-thin, ultra-sexy notebooks are designed around Intel’s next-gen Ivy Bridge CPU platform that offers high but efficient performance at affordable price points and Asus is set to flood the market with a bunch of models.
Asus isn’t alone in this fight. Acer also has models on tap and the Aspire 3951 leaked last weekend before its IFA debut. This first-gen model sports a current generation Intel Sandy Bridge CPU and a rather cheap looking case, but it’s only 13mm thick and said to have a $800 price tag. HD Blog even states that it wakes from sleep in two seconds.
Intel previously stated that ultrabooks will make up to 40% of the notebook market by the end of 2012. Asus’s CEO, Jerry Shen, stated that this goal is “a very aggressive target that would be difficult to meet before 2013” citing numerous obstacles including a heat issue with Intel’s CPUs. He also stated that Asus’ suppliers have the ability to pump out a maximum of 200K ultrabooks without any additional supply chain investment. As the Financial Times notes, that’s a fraction of Asus’ current 1 million per month capacity.
Intel’s aggressive target will not be reachable if only Asus and Acer are on board. With HP slowly backing out of the consumer marketplace, Dell, Toshiba, and Lenovo will need to fully accept the ultrabook platform and target all segments of the notebook market. There will need to be ultrabooks at low and median price points. Right now that doesn’t seem to be happening as just the two aforementioned computer companies have talked about their ultrabook offerings.
Still, ultrabooks are likely going to be all the rage at IFA this week and next. Ultrabooks might be nothing more than MacBook Air rip-offs, but if they’re done right &mash; with quality specs and efficient batteries — they could signal a sales boom for the Windows PC notebook market.