Archive for August, 2011

Samsung's Series 7 Slate PC is an UltraSlate!


I’m not just playing with words when I say that the newly announced Samsung Series 7 Slate is ‘ultra’ because if you look at the platform, the weight and the price you’ll see that it’s effectively an Ultrabook without the keyboard.

Engineering something like this takes even more skill than designing am Ultrabook because you’re laying the screen directly over the motherboard. That introduces some nasty thermal challenges.

For those that need the keyboard, you can leave now. For those that may not need the keyboard all the time (video editing, photo reviewing, those thinking about Windows 8 touch features, hot-deskers) this is an interesting product.

The specs include SSD, 4GB RAM, capacitive and digitiser layer, a high-brightness 1366×768 screen, quick-start, a 2lb weight and an optional dock. Starting price is $1099.

This Is My Next have some hands-on here.

[ Posted via the Galaxy Tab. Ultra-Mobile at IFA 2011. For more IFA coverage, follow me on Twitter. @Chippy ]

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Acer Ultrabooks could launch as S-Series, and soon!


In two days we’re attending an Acer press conference at the IFA consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, Germany were we’re hoping to confirm the news that the new Acer Ultrabooks will come under the S-Series brand.

The news comes via Notebookitalia who have also spotted local pricing of €768 for an Acer Ultrabook S3 that comes with a nice Core i5 platform and an interesting SSD + hard disk combination. With the OS on a 20GB fast SSD, its going to help speed things up.

Acer have a reputation of leading the pack when it comes to lowering pricing. €768 makes an exciting price that could bring full-range computing to even more mobile users.

Check out the IFA story below. We’ll keep an eye out here in Berlin for developments ahead of the press event on the 2nd.

Source: netbookitalia


[ Posted via the Galaxy Tab. Ultra-Mobile at IFA 2011. For more IFA coverage, follow me on Twitter. @Chippy ]

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Intel's Analysts on The Ultrabook – Honestly?


“We’re in for another boom”
“In everybody’s hands”
“The functionality and utility of a tablet”

Intel’s latest set of promotional material related to the Ultrabook consists of three very short videos showing Intel analysts views on the 22nm process and the advantages of an Ultrabook.

Personaly I hope they produce something a bit better than this in the near future because this looks like It was rushed through the editing room.

Can someone explain to me why an Ultrabook has the functionality and utility of a tablet? Where are the focused, low-costs apps and store? Where’s the always-on.capability, the touchscreen, the 350gm-700gm weight and the $200 starting point?

You may disagree but in my opinion, Ultrabooks are the devices that can do everything that a tablet can’t! They are the devices you need if you’ve got a tablet. You can now throw away the dusty netbook and get busy with 720p video editing, 1080p video conversion, music creation, comfortable text input, full and unlimited web browsing, flexible interfacing and expansion, multi-user usage, office software, software development and enterprise compatibility.

I know there are design elements that come from tablets but thin design and quick-start don’t give them the functionality and utility of a tablet.

As for ‘In everybody’s hands’ well that’s bordering on the offensive. Consumers buy $500 pcs, not $1000 PCs, in many countries it’s less or nothing at all.

Sorry Intel. I appreciate your lead and skill with the technology but you’re going to have to get busy on the message. Tablets are satisfying huge amounts of consumer computing requirements and in many cases do things better than a PC architecture. The Ultrabook has its place and we’re excited about that but let’s be honest and realistic about where it can effectively fit in.

Videos after the jump. . .

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Asus Ultrabooks to Start At $899. . .with Core i3


Coming in at exactly the expected price-point, Asus’ Ultrabooks, that’s the UX21 and UX31, will launch in October at a US-based event.

This news comes from Digitimes who say that the entry level price will be $899 but the prices will be rising to a lofty $1999. At that price expect the Core i7 and 256GB of SSD storage!

$899 is $100 below the target price given by Intel in previous statements.

The bad news about the price is that $899 is only likely to get you a non-Turbo-Boost Core i3 (given that it has been listed as an option.)  11″ devices based on this platform are already available at 50-60% of the price.

Based on this news, it’s unlikely that we’ll see more than just production samples at IFA this week. We’ll do our best to get some hands-on though so stay tuned.

[Chippy is reporting from IFA this week. You can follow near-live and behind the scenes via Twitter here. Watch out for the Twitter-only mini podcast announcements too.]


[ Posted via the Galaxy Tab. Ultra-Mobile at IFA 2011. For more IFA coverage, follow me on Twitter. @Chippy ]

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Lenovo X121e Makes Ultrabooks Look Very Expensive


Price, brand and basic specs. These are the variables that most people use to narrow down their choice of laptop. When it comes to general mobility, the weight plays a factor too.

If you’re thinking of buying a lightweight Sandy Bridge (2nd Generation Intel Core processors) laptop though, the bargain of the moment has to be the Lenovo X121e. At about 500 pounds inclusive operating system and taxes (406 pounds before tax at Ballicom here) it’s half the expected price of an Ultrabook. (*1)

Yes, there will be some subtle differences which make Ultrabooks ‘better’ but will they be enough?

- Core i5 instead of Core i3 bringing Turbo boost
– Intel Wi-Di capable and ‘always updated’ network hardware and software (and possibly bios)
– Simmer, lighter design
– Fast SSD storage

The key feature of the Ultrabook for me is the high dynamic range of compute power. I like that the Sandy Bridge platform works well for average daily computing at 800Mhz and I like the Intel Quick Sync Video processing that can really help 720p video editing and upload in mobile and time-critical situations. Yes, I would like the turbo boost feature and, 1kg weight and the fast SSD will enhance the experience a lot but I can’t justify that 2x spend right now.

Like the Samsung Series 3, the X121e is approaching Ultrabook territory without the price tag.

(*1) Assumption is that $1000 Ultrabooks in the USA will translate to about £1000 when circa 20% sales tax is added in many European countries.

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Indicators of an Ultrabook Developer Forum

Although we’ve already had two IDF (Intel Developer Forum) events this year it’s the San Francisco event starting in September that’s the highlight. It kicks off a new technology year for Intel and allows attendees to gauge what might happen in the next 12-18 months. You get to watch one of the leading technology companies in the world dance around some its leading technology. Read between the lines and you’re able to gauge a whole lot more than what the marketing reveals.


The earliest indication that you get of the marketing slant is the official keynote and session list. In years past we’ve seen ultra mobility and networks taking center stage. Last year we saw a huge push for Atom, this year the priorities look different. IDF is likely to be the springboard for Ultrabooks.

Intel will put a huge amount of money into promoting Ultrabooks and key features of Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge and advising their customers how to get the best out of the platforms. Take a look at some of the Ultrabook-related sessions that are on offer…

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LG P220 Ultrabook Rolling Soon


I’m on holiday today but I’ve just spotted this news about the LG P220.
According to reports, it will be rolling out in South Korea very soon. Specifications and an official image are available but there’s no price yet.


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Intel Capital Has $300M for Ultrabook-Related Investment

It would be nice if this was $300M of subsidy for manufacturers to seed the Ultrabook market, but it’s not. It’s $300M of cash reserved by Intel Capital for funding companies that work in and around Ultrabook technologies.

intel capital

In an event and press release today, Intel announced that over the next 3-4 years, $300 million would be available for investing in companies that are “building technologies that will help revolutionize the computing experience and morph today’s mobile computers into the next ‘must have’ device.”

So while not exactly a pure Ultrabook fund, it’s significant and important and comparable to the way an automotive company might invest in Formula 1 technology in order to find solutions that can be used to improve mass-market cars. If you ignore the ‘Ultrabook’ marketing slant, it’s business as usual for Intel Capital.

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Ultrabook Cost – Samsung’s Series 3 Compared

You might be wondering why Ultrabooks are going to cost $1000 or more when similar, slightly heavier designs are coming in at 75% of the cost.

The Samsung Series 3 that’s just gone on sale gives us a good chance to do some comparisons and there’s two things we need  to consider.

1) Market acceptance

2) Design, hardware, production costs

If you take a look at the Samsung Series 3 [at Liliputing], you’ll see it’s running the Intel Core i5 2nd-gen CPu just like the Series 9. In the Series 3 that’s selling for $735 now  you’ve got a 2.3Ghz version rather than a 1.3-1.5Ghz version. The reason is, size.

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Acer Aspire 3951 up as next Ultrabook candidate

Coming in at the mid-range of expected Ultrabook screen sizes the 13.3” Acer Aspire 3951 looks the business and there’s an interesting pricing rumour to go with it.

Via Notebookitalia I’ve read that the Acer Aspire 3951 could be the first in a range of Acer ultrabooks. Given the potential cost of making the ‘engine’ it would make sense to deliver it in multiple bodies for a wider market. The 3951 will have a 13.3 inch screen.

The source article has now gone (a good sign that it’s for real) but the images are all over the place now.


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Samsung 900X1B now Shipping

Want something that’s like an Ultrabook, but isn’t, officially?

The Samsung 900X1B is the Core i3 (2nd gen) 11” version of the 900X3A ‘Series 9’ that we tested a short while back and while it’s not labeled, ‘UltraBook’ and may not have the best of the 2nd-Gen core platforms (no Turbo-Boost for example) the 900X3A breaks the $1000 barrier and comes in under the average netbook weight at 1.06KG. The MacBook Air is the direct competitor but if you want Windows, this is about the only ‘Ultrabook’ option today.

I’ve spotted that in both J&R (U.S.) and Amazon (DE) the device is now shipping.

amazon shipping JR shipping

It’s got the backlit-keyboard and we assume the same fast SSD as on the 13” Core i5 system. Battery life is unknown but we believe it’s got a capacity that’s 10% less than the 13” model. Some of that should be offset by lower screen usage but 4-5 hours of usage should be about right in terms of expectations.

Full specifications are in our database.


Intel Finally Throws up Ultrabook Page

I’m surprised it took this long. An Ultrabook micro-site is now available on the Intel web site.

Ultrabook appears to be a important word in Intel. They’ve trademarked it (in the U.S.) and stated that it will cover 40% of notebook sales by end of 2012 so why it took so long is a mystery. It’s also a mystery why there’s a lack of information. I hope it’s going to be padded out in the weeks leading up to IDF.

How about a section for equipment designers, a full ‘certification’ list, a section for products [I believe we've got that covered!] and even promotional videos.

For the time being, it’s just a site to keep an eye on for changes. We’ll let you know so check back here regularly or track us on Twitter.

Ultrabook micro-site on Thanks Freakyfred!


Ultrabook Update from Intel is Quiet on the Price!


Intel recently put out a blog update about the upcoming Ultrabooks and on first-pass I wasn’t able to see anything new to report. A second look this evening has me wondering why there’s some important information missing. But first, the update.

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