Today at its CES event, Intel made the claim that by the end of 2013, the market will enjoy the presence of $599, touch-enabled Ultrabook laptops. The company also stated that the devices will be required to support touch input. Finally, Intel promised functional “all day battery life.”
This is a key prediction, as it implies a lower-priced PC market, in which machines that formally retailed for around $1,000 or more will be declining to price points that mirror current tablets, not laptops; Ultrabooks appear set to invade the space that has been reserved for tablets, and with the addition of touch capabilities, the line between the two devices will be blurred.
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This means that Ultrabooks are quickly set to walk down market, and disrupt the just-forming Windows 8-based tablet market. Intel sees this as a positive for it, as Ultrabooks run in its chips, and most tablets run on ARM technology that it does not provide.
The following image is what Intel currently has in the lab, its form-factor demo unit:
The company claims that its current trail unit will deliver 13 hours of battery life. That would put Intel-powered machines at the top of the market.
Even more, Intel’s reference machine detaches its keyboard from the screen, making it into a tablet on the go, quickly. Intel therefore intends to take the Ultrabook market and make it into a form factor in which convertible machines rule the roost. Directly describing its reference machine and others like it, Intel stated that they will cost around $799 and $899.
Windows 8 is about to be given a boon: Intel is putting its energy behind building machines that directly support its design choices.
Ultrabooks with touch at $599 and Ultrabooks with touch that convert to tablets for $799 could be quite compelling, if the build quality is high.