Intel says Ultrabooks in stores now, online video shows off new models

Intel has launched its challenger to the tablet phenomenon — the Ultrabooks — with a ‘flashmob’ campaign in Los Angeles, and said the models have already hit shop-shelves.

It plans to launch or design 75 models this year from the likes of Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Samsung and Toshiba.

At about 1.1 kg, Ultrabooks will weigh half of what a normal laptop does and double of what most tablets weigh.

They are targeted at users who are taken by the tablets’ sleek looks and long battery life, but also want a built-in keyboard.

They are priced at $800 (Rs 39,000) onwards and are meant to be no thicker than 0.8 inch, compared with the 0.35 inch thickness of the iPad2.

The thinnest model announced so far is the Samsung Series 9 13-inch, with a thickness of half an inch — the same as the first model of the iPad. The model, however, is priced at a hefty $1,400.

Intel has launched an online campaign to promote the new ultrabooks that shows off the ease of handling of the new range of laptops.

It is expected that the ultrabooks will replace the normal notebooks in the coming quarters as they gain more and more muscle. The current crop is based on the two-year old ‘Sandy Bridge’ or Second Generation Core-i series of chips.

Intel is expected to unveil the next generation of chips, based on the ‘Ivy Bridge’ design, in the coming weeks. The line-up is expected to have highly efficient chips meant for ultrabooks as well, when it is announced later this quarter.

The current Sandy Bridge Ultrabook chips consume about 17 watts of power at a maximum — compared with the 9 watts that rival AMD’s ‘C’ series fusion chips consume. A halving of the power consumption by the chip could prolong the battery-life of Ultrabooks by as much as a third.

Intel has taken a hit due to the tablet revolution that has caused PC sales to decline in major markets. Consumers are trying to make do with a thin, light and easily portable device when stepping out, instead of lugging a bulky laptop around.