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Intel creates $300m fund for ultrabooks

Intel creates $300m fund for ultrabooks

Will 40 per cent of us be using one these in 18 month's time?

Intel has announced that it has created a $300 million fund ‘to accelerate the next revolution of personal computing’, namely the ultrabook. This ultra-thin breed of laptop, set to rival the MacBook Air with thinness married to a lower price, is Intel’s focus for the near-future as far as mobile computing is concerned.

Ultrabooks were announced at Computex 2011 in June of this year, promising high performance via Sandy Bridge processors in a very thin 13-15in laptop that costs under $1,000. Intel’s executive vice president Sean Malony said that ‘if we do it right, the PC ultrabook will be 40 per cent of the market.

However, despite the obvious appeal of a 15in laptop that weighs the same as a tiny ultraportable and yet doesn’t cost much, there has been little news on the ultrabook front. Asus and Acer are said to have prototypes, but nothing that’s ready to sell.

The newly created fund will ‘invest in companies building hardware and software technologies focused on enhancing how people interact with Ultrabooks, achieving all-day usage through longer battery life, enabling innovative physical designs and improved storage capacity. The overall goal of the fund, which will be invested over the next 3-4 years, is to create a cycle of innovation and system capabilities for this new and growing category of mobile devices.

This is an indication that companies have been sceptical about the concept of an ultra-thin laptop that doesn’t sacrifice performance or cost much – the fund is designed to encourage research in the area by at least part-funding it, thus mitigating the risk. However, Intel is still confident of its new flavour of laptop: ‘This family of products will enable thin, light and beautiful designs that are less than 21mm (0.8 inch) thick, and at mainstream prices. Systems based on these chips will be available for the 2011 winter holiday shopping season.

This is stage one of the plan, with stage two involving the forthcoming Ivy Bridge processors to deliver ‘improved power efficiency, smart visual performance, increased responsiveness and enhanced security.’ Ultrabooks based on Ivy Bridge processors are scheduled for ‘early 2012’ while we’ll have to wait until 2013 for phase three of the ultrabook strategy, where Intel plans to take over the world introduce a range of processors codenamed Haswell that are ‘expected to reduce power consumption to half of the “thermal design point” for today’s microprocessors.

Excited yet? Here’s a flashy video if not:


If you’re sold on the idea of ultrabooks, or if even that showy video hasn’t convinced you, let us know in the forum.

17 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Lazy_Amp 11th August 2011, 14:47 Quote
The music in that video is simply jarring.

So yeah, we all know Intel has enough money to throw at anything. I guess they realize they can't hit that price point they promised without incurring some losses.
NuTech 11th August 2011, 14:52 Quote
This is a really good idea.

I use (and love) a Macbook Air, it's very portable without being a gimped netbook. There really needs to be more manufacturers exploring this form-factor.

I think the biggest problem is the sheer amount of custom components required is much higher compared to a regular laptop, each requiring a lot of R&D. So if you're not Apple, you cannot guarantee the very high sales required to achieve affordable volume discounts from suppliers.

Hopefully the $300m will incentivise that...
Madness_3d 11th August 2011, 14:53 Quote
But how are they gonna fit a GT 540M in there as well :(
jcb121 11th August 2011, 15:20 Quote
this seems like the way to go :)
ch424 11th August 2011, 15:22 Quote
Was that... a Thunderbolt port?
will_123 11th August 2011, 16:31 Quote
Ha beyond beyond! aye ok Intel.
geoboy333 11th August 2011, 17:14 Quote
so how much of that £300m is gonna be left after that add campaign I wonder...
Yslen 11th August 2011, 17:37 Quote
I have to say, I'd buy one if they were a decent price. I need something portable and light but with decent battery life, a decent sized screen, a nice sized keyboard and enough oomph to actually get some work done.

I imagine a lot of people, business users especially, are in the same boat. Netbooks are underpowered, tradiational laptops are too big and heavy, tablets don't have a proper keyboard and are equally underpowered... and the Macbook Air is expensive. And a Mac, which is enough to deter me in itself these days.
Arghnews 11th August 2011, 18:28 Quote
Ah well, lets see what they have for us in 5 years?
Lol, take over the world :D

And yes, that looks like a thunderbolt port, makes sense tbh, on a futuristic book like that
Elton 11th August 2011, 20:27 Quote
I just want an IPS screen on these things.
Xir 12th August 2011, 10:02 Quote
Why emphasize the "thinness"?
It'l still be 15" at least.
Weight and battery life would be far more interesting than saving 2-3mm?

If you'd make it 3 mm thicker, but lighter and longer lasting, would that make it less sexy?
MSHunter 12th August 2011, 13:24 Quote
they would have to address the keyboard related issues and reflective screens IF they want this to really take off. Especially for business customers. High res mean more lines of text and 16:what ever is bad for work!
dyzophoria 14th August 2011, 03:55 Quote
with the new processors (with trigate tech), small with high performance ultrabooks are not far fetched. why focus on thinness? because the majority of ultrabook users will be mobile business men, but im really guessing is a large chunk of that 300m tech fund will focus on battery development
Bituser 14th August 2011, 07:04 Quote
That is officially insane. How in the world are they expecting to cool this thing? I'm interested to see if this can rival the Macbook Air.
rayson 14th August 2011, 14:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NuTech
This is a really good idea.

I use (and love) a Macbook Air, it's very portable without being a gimped netbook. There really needs to be more manufacturers exploring this form-factor.

I think the biggest problem is the sheer amount of custom components required is much higher compared to a regular laptop, each requiring a lot of R&D. So if you're not Apple, you cannot guarantee the very high sales required to achieve affordable volume discounts from suppliers.

Hopefully the $300m will incentivise that...
agreed i think llano would still be a good choice for a laptop of this size even if it is dumbed i don't care abouyt the almighty power of intel cpus , llanos are probably the best choice for all laptop type unless you want to be doing starcraft or 1080p gaming
okenobi 14th August 2011, 14:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yslen
I have to say, I'd buy one if they were a decent price. I need something portable and light but with decent battery life, a decent sized screen, a nice sized keyboard and enough oomph to actually get some work done.

I imagine a lot of people, business users especially, are in the same boat. Netbooks are underpowered, tradiational laptops are too big and heavy, tablets don't have a proper keyboard and are equally underpowered... and the Macbook Air is expensive. And a Mac, which is enough to deter me in itself these days.

Quite. Apart from the Mac part, I'd consider anything that fits the bill. What puts me off about Macs is the price and the lack of USB3. The ecosystem change wouldn't be fun, but I'd do it if I could get what I wanted out of the device.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elton
I just want an IPS screen on these things.

And this.

If they can offer something like the Vaio Z series with a great screen, good performance, and retaining the low weight and size, I'm there. If they can do it for around a grand, I'll be amazed. In fact, if said device existed now and included an SSD for £1000, I'd probably have bought it already.
rayson 14th August 2011, 14:25 Quote
by the way how much do you have to pay for a patent
i got an idea
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