Ultrabooks are turning out to be a test of metal, er, mettle for PC vendors. Conceived by Intel and expected to begin populating store shelves later this year, ultrabooks have among their defining characteristics: a full-voltage processor, a thickness cap of 0.8 inches, and a sub-$1,000 price tag. But, as PC vendors are fast learning, making an ultrabook is easier said than done.
Three months after it arrived, Dell Adamo has received a price cut. A price cut for the Adamo became inevitable once Apple slashed the price of its svelte MacBook Air -perceived to be Adamo’s archrival - in June. Prices of all Adamo ultraportables have been lowered.
The basic Dell Adamo is now available for $1500 as opposed to its original price of $1999. This places it on level ground with the entry-level MacBook Air in terms of price. The basic version has a 1.2GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. But at the other end of the spectrum, the top-end Adamo variant still remains pricier than its MacBook Air counterpart. The new price of the top-end Adamo is $2,230. It features a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, a 128GB SSD, and 4GB RAM.
PC makers have been decrying the impact of low margin netbooks on their bottom line for over a year now, but Intel is trying to calm their fears by making new predictions for the future of mobile computing. Numbers posted at the end of March peg netbook sales at around 16 per cent of all portable computer purchases, but Intel claims the steadily decreasing cost of ultra-thin laptops will help to keep that number from growing. The ultra-thin category is traditionally dominated by new ultra low voltage CPU’s, which offer better performance than both Celeron, and Atom processors, with an increasingly more reasonable price premium. According to Intel’s marketing chief, Sean Maloney, "Atom is eating into Celeron. And we're quite fine with this".
Maloney predicts that ultra-thin laptops will start offering stiff competition for high end netbooks priced above $400, primarily because the price difference has shrunk in some cases to as little as a $200. Intel’s internal projections released during the May 12th presentation shows sales increasing exponentially near the end of the year, and clearly, this is where they expect to see the bulk of their growth in the portable PC market.
Intel predicts that future growth markets for netbooks will be children and cellphone providers who bundle 3G service with the computer to further subsidize the price to consumers. Do you think people only buy netbooks because they are cheap? Or are some people just looking for a good ultra-portable?
What weighs 4 pounds and measures 12.1 inches? The answer has nothing to do with John Holmes and everything to do with Hewlett-Packard's upcoming "ultralight" business notebook line to be built around Intel's Centrino 2 platform.
Cost of entry for the HP-Compaq 2230 series will start at $999 and include an Intel Core 2 Duo T5670 (1.80GHz) processor, 3GB of RAM, a 320GB hard disk, 802.11n wireless, a DVD burner, and Intel's GMA 4500MHD graphics. Users looking for a bit more power have the option of moving up to an Intel T9400 (2.53GHz) processor, bringing the starting price up to $1,649. All models will also come equipped with three USB ports, an HDMI port, and a 4-cell lithium-ion battery.
No release date has been given for the new subnotebook line, but according to Cnet, they should start shipping later this month.
At Maximum PC, our main concern is speed—we like to call it pure PC power. But, as much as we love the massive power available in the desktop replacement notebooks of today, our shoulders just won’t let us tote those über-powerful, über-heavy rigs any further than from the sofa to the fridge and back. Even worse, high-powered, ultra-portable rigs are just too damn expensive. And it’s tough to pay more than $2000 for a machine with integrated graphics, even if it weighs only 3 pounds.