The world’s largest chip-maker Intel Corporation on Thursday said the new ‘Ultrabook’ devices being developed with its technology will initially cost around $1,000, but the price tag should fall below $799 in coming years.
Such a price tag would bring Ultrabooks, which are billed as being slimmer, faster and lighter than conventional notebook PCs, closer to tablet devices in terms of pricing, although Intel does not expect the computing devices to be in direct competition, as they cater to different categories of consumers with different requirements.
“Initially, the Ultrabooks should be priced in the sub-$1,000 (Rs. 45,000) category. But the prices should come below $799 and even further lower in the coming years,” Intel Vice-President and PC Client Group General Manager Mooly Eden said.
Speaking to journalists at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2011, Eden said the price tag of around USD 1,000 could be too expensive for consumer’s budgets, but the ultimate objective was to make Ultrabooks available at a price that works for users.
Intel expects to kick off the first phase of the roll-out of Ultrabooks later this year with its second-generation Core processors, followed by third-generation ‘Ivy League’ processor-powered Ultrabooks next year and Intel’s next-generation Haswell processors in the third and final phase in 2013.
PC-makers are expected to start selling Ultrabooks in the U.S. market this holiday season and the product should be available in other parts of the world around the same time.
The final price of these computers, either for the U.S. or other markets, including India, would be determined by the computer manufacturers.
Mr. Eden dismissed suggestions that Ultrabooks would eat into the share of tablet PCs or other computing devices and said that various kinds of devices, such as smartphones, tablets and Ultrabooks, had their own functions and usefulness.
Mr. Eden said he expects the Ultrabooks to eventually become the mainstream computing devices for the users and his estimate for initial years was for 40 per cent of traditional notebook PC users to move to Ultrabooks.
“One would have to wait for at least two years to see the transition happening in this market,” he said, adding that tablet PCs would continue to have their own place in the market.
Asked about the slowdown in sales growth of netbooks, an earlier attempt by PC-makers to provide a smaller version of traditional laptop or notebook PCs, Eden said their growth was not hampered by tablet PCs or smartphones.
He said the growth of netbooks was primarily affected by various manufacturers dumping their inventories of traditional laptops in the market at competitive prices after the launch of this smaller version.
He said tablet PCs, priced at about $699, could not cannibalise the $299-priced netbooks, which were indeed good for their price point.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Eden demonstrated various capabilities of Ultrabook PCs powered by Intel chips at the Intel Developer Forum.
Mr. Eden said that Intel was working to provide computer-makers with chips that could enable them make the Ultrabook computers, which could run with very low power consumption and were thinner, lighter and sleeker, with better performance and an affordable price tag.