Some 75 new designs of next-generation
"ultrabook" computers will hit store shelves in the coming months,
according to comments by a top Intel executive reported Thursday by
The new ultrabooks, based on Intel's Ivy Bridge processor, are meant to offer the portability of tablets and the flexibility of traditional laptops in a thinner, lighter design that also features longer battery life and quicker startup. Intel hopes they will help PCs claw back market share from Apple's iPad and other tablet computers.
Intel introduced the new category last May, but it has been slow to get off the ground with prices for basic models near 1,000 dollars.
However, Kirk Scaugen, Intel's general manager for the PC Client Group said that the number of such computers would soon grow from 32 at present to 75, with some of them selling for as little as 699 dollars.
"I think we can deliver the best of a tablet, and the best in what (users) know in a notebook," Skaugen said at Intel's Developer Forum in Beijing.
Skaugen said that some of the new devices would feature pivoting and detachable touch screens to enable the devices to transform easily from laptops to tablets.
Skaugen added that Intel planned a "a multi-hundred million dollar" advertising campaign for the devices, which will lead to new TV and Internet advertisements, and had launched a 300 million dollar fund to help hardware makers develop new products.
The success of the new category is seen as vital to the future of Intel since which is battling an unprecedented challenge to the dominance of computer chips based on its so-called x86 design.
Microsoft's Windows 8, which launches later this year, will be the first operating system from the software giant not to feature exclusive compatibility with x86. Windows 8 will also be compatible with the ARM architecture that is the chip design in popular tablets like the iPad as well as most smartphones.
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