Archive for September, 2011
We’ve given you a heads up (or two) about Intel’s AppUp application store wanting to expand into Ultrabooks. It’s a move that could even see some synergy in the Windows 8 Metro UI [Tenuous, Insider] and could be a serious earner for both Intel and developers but it needs seeding. That’s why Intel are offering prizes. In this case $250 for a Web app submission and and five chances to win an Ultrabook.
The UX21 11.6”, the cheapest of the three models (KX004V) is now available for pre-order for €999 That’s more than we expected. €200 more than we expected. For €999 you’re getting the Core i5 with 128GB of SSD , 4GB of RAM and Windows Home Premium.
The jump to the UX31 will cost you, well, we can’t tell because the pricing is all messed up right now with the Core i7 + 265GB (UX31E-RY010V) costing €999, less than a UX31 with Core i5 and 128GB!
Given the errors we’d say wait for a day or two before they get the information sorted out. Or, get in there and try and order a Core i7 with 256GB for 999!
Update: Amazon.de have removed the Asus Ultrabook products. Maybe we should have kept it quiet!
The Toshiba Portege Z830 is lining up to be one very interesting Ultrabook indeed. It’s the lightest 13” model there is at an amazing 1.13KG [see Ultrabook weight comparison here by clicking ‘weight column] and has a great line-up of ports and features. Even better news, and solving the mystery of why some people are reporting the casing to be structurally solid when we felt something a little wobbly at IFA, is the news that the casing is now a magnesium alloy and aluminum structure.
Echoing what we reported a few days ago is the official announcement that AppUp, the Intel-funded app store for Meego, Windows and Tizen will expand its product focus out to all PCs. Originally Intel had a keen eye on the Atom ecosystem for AppUp but by moving to support HTML5 apps, they think that all PC platforms could benefit.
Peter Biddle who heads-up the AppUp project at Intel had this to say in a blog post introducing the AppUp Elements conference in Seattle.
“Today we disclosed the expansion of the Intel AppUp program to support all PCs with a special focus on the new class of super-slim PCs known as UltrabooksTM. Intel expects as much as 40% of the worldwide laptop market next year to be captured by Ultrabooks, and with fast processors coupled with slick designs this is clearly another massive market for developers.”
With an estimated notebook ship volume of 5.4 million units forecast for Q3 2011, top-3 notebook manufacturer Acer is hoping that Ultrabooks will make up 30% of volumes in 2012. That’s something in the region of 6 million unit for the year.
The news comes from Taiwan News who’s article makes an interesting read. Read this section from the ‘half-full’ angle and then again from the ‘half empty’ angle.
"In our survey of 200 local consumers, we found that 77 percent are interested in an ultra-thin notebook PC, with 49 percent of them saying they will switch to the new product within six months,"
Experience tells me that people are happy to say ‘yes I will’ before there’s a chance to buy or a known price. The $1000 price point could change opinion very quickly. Even if Acer leads in price, they will have to cut across huge sections of their own market in just 12 months. Interestingly, Acer also state that they won’t be doing an 11” model because it competes with low-cost devices. They’re probably referring to netbooks with Acer possibly believing that millions of 10 and 11” netbook owners could be tempted to upgrade. Bigger is better, right?
In the current market climate where low-cost tablets are potentially attracting users away from notebook and desktop upgrades and major manufacturers are offering basic ‘almost ultrabooks’ for a much lower price, the 30% figure is going to be a huge challenge.
Not in the least bit surprising is the first US$ pricing for the Acer S3 Ultrabook which has broken the $1000 price barrier. One retailer has confirmed an $899 price.
Not only is Acer renowned for setting low price points but if you take a look at the spec sheet for the Acer Aspire S3 you’ll see that it’s missing a few features that could be important to many. No USB 3.0, No Ethernet port. Hybrid hard drive (Not full SSD.)
The price appears to be for a Core i5 version so that’s positive news. (Model number LX.RSF02.079) We’ve found mention of Core i3 variants though and while they could be simple typos, it would make sense to double check before ordering.
Prices are filtering in all over the world now and availability from one Swiss retailer shows a date of 30th Sept so check your local price comparison engine to see if it is showing up. If so, drop above below with models details and prices.
Following a tweet by Dynamism today I took a look around to see if others were also advertising the Lenovo Ideapad U300s. Sure enough, we’ve got model details and prices available at a range of places in the USA and even an estimated shipping date. It won’t be long!
The specifications match what we were told at IFA with two models being available.
According to a ‘paper’ [What is this, a Post-It on the Digitimes coffee machine?] Samsung is having an Ultrabook manufactured by Quanta. Not only that but they will produce a second Ultrabook in-house.
Given that Samsung already have two devices that could be re-purposed as true Ultrabooks with a small hardware update (the anti-theft module) and perhaps a little price drop, this is strange news.
It could be as simple as a re-organisation of the production lines for the existing models and a small specification change; A move to a Quanta production line could be a cost-saving measure. It could also be a Quanta original design. Again, probably a cost saving measure. Either way, Taiwan will be happy to get the trade from South Korea!
We’ll see these events all over the place over the next few months as all the Ultrabooks filter into the market but given the pricing and specs of the UX21 and UX31, the Asus models could generate the most interest.
Blogeee.net (link below) are highlighting a New York event for the 11th Oct
We keep an updated list of Ultrabook alternatives here.
Apart from the Apple MacBook Air which is built like an Ultrabook but sold like an Apple product, there are other interesting options that hover just outside the weight and features list of a true Ultrabook. You’ve got options with Core i3 or AMD E450 at way below the Ultrabook price level, options without SSD and even high-end options. If you can handle just 500 gm / 1lb more weight and are flexible on specs you can save hundreds. In this report I list your options for Sept-Oct 2011.
Before you take a look at the Ultrabook alternatives, have a look at these two reference articles to find out exactly what an Ultrabook is.
Backgrounder: What’s an Ultrabook?
Backgrounder: Ultrabook features Guide.