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HP readying the first “Ultrabook” notebook computer

Posted at 13 July 2011 13:00 CEST by etdragon

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?

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There are 5 comments

BradWright
MyCE Member
Posted on: 13 Jul 11 17:42
    The question to me is why do people flock to tablets like sheep when laptops like this are already available (better than these, actually). Dell's latest XPS laptop is currently the thinnest laptop in the world at about .8 or .9 inches at its thickest part, it has a built in optical drive (unlike all the other ultra thins), and is available with a quadcore i7 processor. That's what makes sense to me; an ultra thin laptop with a keyboard, an optical drive, lots of input/output ports (including HDMI), and it closes to protect that LCD display. I'll take that over a tablet anyday.
    debro
    Blown to smitherines
    Posted on: 13 Jul 11 23:14
      Laptops are for work.
      Tablets are for play.
      for the vast majority of the population which just consume content, whether it is videos, music, internet web-pages, looking at emails, pdfs, word org excel documents, tablets are fine.

      You can't make any of the above on a tablet. You need a real computer for content creation. That last comment automatically excludes macs, because macs are to computers what tonka toys are to real trucks.
      tmc8080
      MyCE Resident
      Posted on: 19 Jul 11 19:23
        You need to be @ .8/.9" if you want to include optical drives. Sony tried and failed to get significant market share with ultra thin laptops. It's certainly not worth the premium to have light weight vs value for the $$. Tablets satify much of the demand for ultra-portable computing, right along with smart phones. Content creation is an application that consumers will PAY EXTRA for $$, which is a niche market at this moment in time.

        That said, HP has put their "weight" behind bad ideas before and this is proably another one. However, since the massive consolidation in PC brands, they're big enough to take a bath on this and keep on ticking... so god speed to this failure venture. Probably fire the people who cost HP a few MIL. to take a bath on thin laptops. Should have at least tried to make a hybrid like the motorola Xoom first, but at even lower price points. Hp is just too greedy, but this one WILL backfire.
        Seán
        Senior Administrator & Reviewer
        Posted on: 19 Jul 11 20:31
          While thinner tablets are useful due to holding them in use, I don't really see any advantage to thinner laptops other than for those who need to save space in their briefcase or carry bag when travelling.

          Personally, I'd prefer a lighter laptop over a thinner one. For example, if one had two laptops, one 0.8" thick, 1.3kg and the other 1.2" thick, 0.9kg, but identical in every other way (performance, RAM, screen size, runtime, etc.), while the thinner one would free enough space for let's say an 80 page notebook, the lighter one would mean less weight to carry.
          debro
          Blown to smitherines
          Posted on: 21 Jul 11 00:55
            Quote:
            Originally Posted by Seán
            While thinner tablets are useful due to holding them in use, I don't really see any advantage to thinner laptops other than for those who need to save space in their briefcase or carry bag when travelling.

            Personally, I'd prefer a lighter laptop over a thinner one. For example, if one had two laptops, one 0.8" thick, 1.3kg and the other 1.2" thick, 0.9kg, but identical in every other way (performance, RAM, screen size, runtime, etc.), while the thinner one would free enough space for let's say an 80 page notebook, the lighter one would mean less weight to carry.
            Assuming the same case composition & components required for laptops of the same specifications, the thinner laptop is lighter & cheaper to produce

            Altenately, the thicker laptop is easier to cool ... something for manufacturers to consider

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