If Tawain-based component suppliers are to be believed (and they often are) it appears HP is getting ready to launch the first two models of Intel’s Ultrabook concept laptops. HP’s offerings look like they will beat the Asus UX21 out of the gate. With the UX21 due in September, HP’s Ultrabooks might just hit store shelves this summer.
The concept of an Ultrabook was introduced by Intel at Computex in late May of this year. The goal was a machine less than 0.8 inches in thickness, with a price tag less than $1000. Intel called the new category of machines “thin, light, and beautiful.” Asus was showing off the UX21 at that show.
The two models supposedly being manufactured by HP are going to bring Core i7, Sandy Bridge, 17W dual-core, quad-thread processors to the table. One model will have the 1.7GHz clock speed and the other will have 1.8Ghz. Digitimes is reporting that manufacturing of HP’s machines will be handled by Foxconn while ASUS will lean on Pegatron Technology for manufacture of the UX21.
This entire category of machines appears to be attempting to directly compete with Apple’s Macbook Air. Price wise the Air comes in about where these Ultrabooks are looking to hit, around $999 for the lowest end model, but it skyrockets as high as $1599 for the 13 inch model. The Air currently doesn’t have anywhere near the processing power that HP and Asus are putting into their Ultrabooks. However, rumors have been circulating that the Air is due for an update and that update will likely include a Sandy Bridge processor. The question is will Apple update that line before these Ultrabooks hit the market?
The other big question here is does this category of laptops even make sense? With tablets and netbooks both already on the market, it seems silly to launch yet another line of ultra portable computers. While Apple has seen success with the Air, one has to wonder if that is just because of the brand name it carries and not necessarily due to the footprint of the machine itself. Do you care about Ultrabooks or are you content with a regular laptop, tablet, or netbook?