Tons Of New Ultrabooks On The Way With Lower Prices And Higher Standards

Brad Chacos

Sick of hearing about Ultrabooks yet? If so, you'd better grab some Pepto Bismol. PC manufacturers have jumped onto Intel's slim n' fast bandwagon with almost astonishing vigor;  the first Ultrabooks didn't even hit the streets until the end of last year, and a whopping 21 variations have dropped in the scant 5 months since. That's just the tip of the iceberg, however. Intel says that there are a full 75 more Ultrabooks already in development, and that lower price points and stricter standards are also coming.

Intel also told PC World that it expects Ultrabooks to dip below the $700 price point by the time the kids head back to school this fall. The flood of offerings no doubt helps drive prices down, but the lowering of the initially vaunted "Ultrabook standard" probably doesn't hurt, either. Conceptually, Ultrabooks were supposed to be thin, sleek, long-lasting SSD-sporting notebooks that blended power and portability, but that ideal has faltered a bit in the past few months as thicker, HDD-packing "Ultrabooks" -- some of which even have optical drives -- have come to market.

Intel says that Ultrabooks will see even more variation as time goes on, including "hybrid" Ultrabooks like Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga. But don’t let that discourage you: Intel plans on cracking down on notebooks that call themselves Ultrabooks, but don't meet Intel's guidelines -- partly by excluding them from the marketing blitz Intel has scheduled for the format .

"Intel plans to ensure Ultrabooks have a consistent experience. And if it's too thick it won't be called an Ultrabook," Intel's Kirk Skaugen told PC World. "It won't be allowed to be called an Ultrabook because Ultrabook is a trademark of Intel and we can protect the trademark."

Time will tell whether or not that bark has a bite behind it.

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