Intel Hopes to Curb Tablet Growth with "Ultrabook" PCs

Pulkit Chandna

With one market research study after the other pointing towards the cannibalization of netbooks and other PCs by the iPad and other media tablets, Intel has a reason to be alarmed. After all, it has yet to gain any traction in the tablet market.

But Intel is trying to turn things around. Even as it makes a play for a foothold in the tablet market with its Oak Trail chips, the company has decided to do something on the PC front too. The chip maker is now counting on a new class of laptops called “Ultrabooks” to turn things around for portable PCs.

An Ultrabook, as defined by Intel, will be a “mainstream thin and light mobile computer” that  will “marry the performance and capabilities of today’s laptops with tablet-like features.” For a mobile computer to be labeled an Ultrabook, Intel requires that it should be less than 20mm (0.8 inch) thick and cost less than $1,000.

The first Ultrabooks will be powered by Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors and arrive later this year. They will then continue to evolve with Intel processor platforms,  moving to Ivy Bridge chips in the first half of 2012 and to “Haswell” SoCs the following year.

The UX21 ultrathin notebook from Asus that we reported about on Monday is the world’s first Ultrabook. The PC maker is showing off the UX21 at Computex.

“At ASUS, we are very much aligned with Intel’s vision of Ultrabook™,” said Asus Chairman Jonney Shih while unveiling the UX21 at Computex. “Our customers are demanding an uncompromised computing experience in a lightweight, highly portable design that responds to their needs quickly. Transforming the PC into an ultra thin, ultra responsive device will change the way people interact with their PC.”

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