Up until this point, the whole NFC/Mobile payments craze have largely been focused on smartphones, since, well, you’re more likely to have a cellphone than a notebook on you when you’re shopping. But hey, what about e-shopping? Intel and MasterCard just announced that they’ve teamed up to make Ultrabook a little more “Ultra” by adding mobile payments to the support list for the ultraportable laptops. You’ll still need your cellphone, though.
Intel hopes to stop the tablet wave dead in its tracks with its ultrabooks, a new breed of ultra-thin and -light notebooks starting at around $1,000. While most PC vendors are finding it difficult to meet the current price requirement for ultrabooks, Intel wants them to move to an even more competitive pricing model in the future.
The idea of flooding the market with affordable ultra-thin and -light notebooks dubbed ultrabooks is undoubtedly Intel’s brainchild. The world’s leading chip maker has even set up a $300 million fund to impart some initial impetus to the whole concept. Given its efforts, it has to be said that Intel deserves first dibs on ultrabooks. However, AMD is unlikely to watch from the sidelines for too long.
The Intel-backed Ultrabook armada is all ready to set sail for an ambitious incursion into the domain of ultraportables. But the real motive is not to make a dent in the Apple-dominated ultraportable PC market but to stop the rapid advance of the iPad and other tablets. Even though Intel and its PC vendor chums have been making a lot of noise about this new breed of ultra-thin and light notebooks, Dell and HP continue to be conspicuous by their absence from the ranks of Ultrabook backers. So where are there Ultrabooks?
The Ultrabook concept revolves around the devices in this new class of laptops being priced aggressively by PC vendors. The basic idea is that sub-$1000 pricing will be enough to lure consumers to these ultra-thin and light computers. So with affordable pricing being such an integral part of the whole idea, it’s always going to be an important thing to consider when looking forward to upcoming Ultrabooks like the Asus UX21 and UX31.
Despite the recent change of guard at HP, the company is still considering spinning off or selling its market-leading PC business. But whatever be the final outcome, it’s business as usual at HP’s PC’s division. Although the company has yet to reveal its Ultrabook plans, it’s a given that the world’s leading PC vendor will join the Ultrabook fray sooner or later. Earlier this year, in fact, there were rumors that HP could be the first company to launch an Ultrabook. One thing is certain that even if HP is not the first it won’t be too far behind in launching an Ultrabook.
There have been conflicting reports about the price of the first few manifestations of Intel’s Ultrabook concept. Doubts persist about the ability and willingness of PC vendors to sell ultra-thin and light laptops with standard voltage processors for less than $1,000, as laid out by Intel in its Ultrabook manifesto. But price is not the only concern.
Ah, fads. Without those brief, yet intense, bursts of consumer excitement, the majority of us may have never heard awesome tidbits like the Pet Rock, bell-bottom pants, the Macarena, Tickle Me Elmo or Trapper Keepers. If you listen to Acer chairman JT Wang, one of our useful modern electronics is soon to join those fabled ranks. That’s right, while the pundits are busy calling tablet PCs the best thing since sliced bread, Wang thinks the whole iPad deal is overblown. The future lies in Ultrabooks!
Intel believes devices based on its Ultrabook concept will eventually be able to capture 40 percent of the consumer laptop market. Aimed at checking the rampant growth of media tablets, ultrabooks will offer both the performance of mainstream laptops and tablet-like features in a thin and light form factor (that’s the plan, at least). To boot, ultrabooks will offer all this for less than $1,000. So the sub-$1,000 question is: How much longer before ultrabooks begin inundating the market?