HP Introduces "Sleekbooks:" Ultrabooks That Aren't Ultrabooks

Brad Chacos

In between ringing the warning bells about cyberspace boogeymen and rolling out refreshes to the Pavilion lineup , HP also took the time to answer a question we all knew was coming someday: when is an Ultrabook not an Ultrabook? The answer: when it's a so-called thin-and-light Sleekbook. Two new HP Envy notebooks carry the new name, which skirt the restrictions associated with the Intel-owned Ultrabook brand.

A key distinction for Ultrabooks, of course, is that they have to be powered by Intel's Core processors. One of the two Envy Sleekbooks -- a 14-inch, $700 laptop -- in fact runs on Ivy Bridge, but the second model -- a 15.6-inch, $600 laptop -- sports an AMD APU, something that could never occur in an Ultrabook proper.

The two Envy Sleekbooks also point out the price-based competitiveness of AMD's processors. The APU-powered Envy sports a bigger screen and "discrete-class graphics" while costing $100 less than the smaller Intel-powered Envy, which HP offers with "optional discrete graphics" that will only add to the price tag.

The Intel model should be available today, while the AMD variant won't be shipping until around June 20th. Why could that be? *Cough* Trinity *Cough* A couple of actual Ultrabooks were announced, too.

So whaddaya think: if HP and other manufacturers can whip together thin and long-lasting Ultrabook-like notebooks running on AMD processors, then simply call the doppelgangers by a slightly different name, does "Ultrabook" (with its very loose spec guidelines) even carry much value as a brand? The AMD Sleekbook is virtually identical to an AMD Ultrabook, after all, aside from the CPU at its heart.

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