Intel's $300m Ultrabook fund may only be the start of what investment notebook manufacturers demand if they are to deliver on the sub-$1,000 ultraportables, with talk of further subsidies and billing marketing costs to the Intel purse. While the chip manufacturer has been busily promoting the Acer, ASUS and Lenovo ultrabook launches expected in Q4 2011, DigiTimes reports, skepticism still remains around whether the target pricing can be achieved given the roughly $700 bill-of-materials (BOM).
Intel has announced that its Intel Capital investment arm will be using a $300m Ultrabook Fund to encourage the development of innovative technologies that will improve the MacBook Air rivaling ultraportable segment. Expected to be dolled out within the next 3-4 years, the cash will go to "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."
Images of Acer's MacBook Air rival, the Acer Aspire 3951, have leaked, previewing the company's upcoming ultrabook. The shots, caught on Vietnamese site Sohoa, show a slimline 13.3-inch ultraportable that's expected to weigh 1.4kg and be roughly 13mm thick, powered by a Sandy Bridge Intel Core processor.
Just how much does an Intel Ultrabook cost? After reports earlier this week suggesting that it was Intel's own greed that was forcing Ultrabook ultraportable notebooks over the original $1,000 price estimates, new BOM (bill of materials) estimates have emerged that indicate those models roughly 21mm thick will run between $475 and $650 in component costs, while slimmer 18mm versions will be between $493 and $710 according to the chip manufacturer's own figures.
The biggest obstacle to Intel's Ultrabook notebook drive might end up being Intel itself, according to the latest mutterings out of Taipei. The chip manufacturer's ploy to take on the MacBook Air with Wintel ultraportables will fail to hit its original sub-$1,000 price promise, DigiTimes' sources claim, because Intel's own hardware prices push total cost above that point.
ASUS' MeeGo-running Eee PC X101 has found itself an official product page, ahead of the 1.5GHz Intel Atom Oak Trail 1.33 GHz Intel Atom N435 ultraportable's release later this month. The 10.1-inch netbook has a 1024 x 600 display, 1GB of RAM as standard (2GB max) and an 8GB SSD, humble specs but probably sufficient for the MeeGo OS it's loaded with.
Apple has updated its MacBook Air ultraportable, bringing the notebook range up to date with Intel's 2011 Sandy Bridge processors, as well as the high-speed Thunderbolt connectivity already seen on the MacBook Pro and iMac. Running OS X Lion, the new 11.6- and 13.3-inch Airs keep the slick unibody styling of their predecessors but throws in a backlit keyboard.
Details of Apple's much-rumored MacBook Air refresh, expected to be officially revealed later today, have leaked, giving us a sneak preview of what's happening with the slimline ultraportable. The 11.6-inch MacBook Air will kick off with a 1.6GHz Intel Sandy Bridge processor, so 9 to 5 Mac's source tells them, paired with 2GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD. The more expensive standard configuration will stick with the same CPU but double the RAM and storage to 4GB and 128GB respectively.
Sony's much anticipated VAIO Z Series ultraportable notebooks have arrived. This new VAIO Z Series is touted as the "world's lightest 13-inch standard voltage PC" and features an ultra slim design that's thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air while packing in high performance specs with Intel's latest Sandy Bridge Core i5 and i7 processors.