Archive for November, 2011
Underlining Intel’s determination to get into the application store game is an announcement that Intel Capital have prepared a $100 million AppUp Fund that will invest in “software tools and services companies developing innovative applications and digital content for the mobile and PC ecosystem.” That’s mainly netbooks, consumer notebooks and, mentioned specifically, Ultrabooks.
The full press release is here and includes details of two initial investments. Urban Airship, a mobile marketing company, and 4tiitoo who develop an operating system for mobile devices. 4tiitoo also make a tablet, the WeTab.
Ritchie’s Room has revealed the new HP Folio Ultrabook (not Foleo!)
Update: The HP Folio aka DM3, is now in the database.
It’s a 13.3” business-focused affair with a similar look to the Toshiba Z835/Z830.
Available in Core i3 or Core i5 versions it should be available in December. Hop over to Ritchies Room to see the
rear side-mounted ports including Ethernet, full-size SD card slot and full-size HDMI along with a nice looking keyboard – and backight. The screen is 1366×768.
It’s estimated the the MacBook Air now accounts for 28% of all MacBook sales in the US market. Looking at the MBA as a sealed-unit, thin-and-light in a range of traditional notebook solutions, it’s interesting to draw comparisons to the Ultrabook in its larger notebook market.
It’s taken the MBA 3 years to reach this penetration, the same could happen in the Windows notebook category and in a shorter timeframe because I believe much of the reason for the accelerated penetration seen by the MBA is because the platform, as used in all Ultrabooks, now meets or exceeds most customer expectations. In previous generations it didn’t.
I’m not going to do any Ultrabook vs MacBook Air technical comparisons here (feel free in the comments section below) but I have taken the chance to drill down into some sales numbers that show some more dominance by the MBA in this thin-and-light market.
I’ve pulled out two sets of figures from reports and estimates and although there is room for a lot of error here, there are indicators that the MBA is selling at a rate of 300000 units per month.
Our LIVE REVIEW is planned for Thursday 17th November at 2100 GMT+1 (9pm Berlin time- meet everyone here. Your local time here.) so if you have queries and want to see the results live, add it to your calendar. We’ll have a live chat and video going for a few hours. The ASUS UX21 will get a good thrashing with benchmarks, videos, productivity, gaming and much more.
And now to the video. Don’t forget to support Ultrabooknews by ‘liking’ the YouTube video and please, if you have a positive or negative thought, add it to the comments. It helps us all.
I’m pleased to announce that we have our first Ultrabook here for testing. Thanks to Asus for sending over the ASUS UX21E, the 11.6”, 1160gm (2lb 9oz) Ultrabook in Core i7, 128GB build. (Model details – ASUS Zenbook UX21E-KX008V)
It looks just a awesome as the first time I saw it at IFA in September, boots in an impressively quick time, turns in a 300ms Sunspider score, has good speakers, a very bright (but glossy) screen , is totally silent as I type this and it looks like it will allow you to web-work for about 4.5 hours.
Fujitsu may have launched the SH771 high-end ultra-light but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to produce an Ultrabook. How do we know? We have pics of Fujitsu Ultrabooks!
Sent to us from Mr Blurrycam himself and marked-up with equally fuzzy information, these pics are supposed to have been shown in a private event recently and were highlighted as Ultrabooks for the 2012 market.
There’s two models being shown here. One is an almost ready 13”er, the other, just a plastic prototype of an 11” Ultrabook which leads us to believe that we’re looking at a Sandy Bridge model and a slightly thinner Ivy Bridge device here.
Here we are, a few weeks into availability of a few Ultrabook devices in a few parts of the world and the big news over the last 2 days is that sales are disappointing and orders have been cut back.
Earlier in the week, tech journalists were excited about the growth possibilities following a report from iSuppli.
Is it really sensible to make judgements now?
I looked through Amazon UK, Germany and USA today and to he honest, you’ll have trouble buying an Ultrabook right now. The same is true of most retailers. In the important European market Acer are the only manufacturer that have achieved wide availability to date. In Germany, the largest country in Europe, it’s tough to find a single device. I’m sure Australia, Canada and the big Indian, Taiwan, Japanese and South Korean markets aren’t much better. The point is that Ultrabooks are late. Is it any surprise that numbers are less than expected? Is it any surprise that no-one really has the big picture yet?
We’ve just had a note from Toshiba Europe to say that the Toshiba Satellite Z830-10J is now shipping in Germany, Austria and, I believe, the Benelux area. Specs are as we have then in the database (note it’s the Satellite and not the Portege in Europe…so far) and the official spec list confirms a matt screen. (Entspiegelt) Recommended retail price is €1099 but I see a number of retailers offering it for €999. Amazon for example. (Toshiba Satellite Z830-10J – aff.)
Back at IDF in Sept we were told that most of Intel’s marketing spend next year will be on Ultrabooks. It seems hard to believe but what is for sure is that there will be a large sum of money involved. Companies producing Ultrabooks (that qualify) can look forward to marketing and advertising help along with a raft of generic Ultrabook advertising. Expect to see the first of this at CES where Intel is bound to be supporting all the Ivy Bridge partners and a big bunch of journalists.
In an interview to be published in the German Handelsblatt newspaper tomorrow, Tom Kilroy, VP of sales and marketing at Intel gives more information. Although the full article is not yet available, a press release (in German) gives selected details.
“Im kommenden Jahr werden die Ultrabooks im Zentrum unserer größten Marketingkampagne seit Jahren stehen”
I’ve seen Ultrabook market penetration estimates that range from 40% by end of 2012 all the way across to this, the lowest forecast so far. 13% by end of 2012.
As we all know by now, the Ultrabook is radically different to traditional notebooks in terms of design and production so as far as I’m concerned, if we see all major manufacturers on board with production lines and supply-chains responding, there will be no turning back and the Ultrabook design and production methods will permeate most of the laptop market. I expect we will see the first signs that the Ultrabook design is succeeding in late 2012 with netbooks, Windows 8 ‘Ultraslates’ and perhaps a new style of MacBook Pro looking distinctly ‘new-wave’ and as the Ultrabook design starts to become cheaper because of volumes, the market will flip completely.
By the end of 2013 Intel could find it impossible to retain any sort of Ultrabook definition because most notebooks will offer similar style, always-on and SSD characteristics. [Unless Intel have a bunch of patents tucked away with the Ultrabook trademark!]
You could even argue that ARM-based notebooks running Windows 8 in 2014 could count towards a loose Ultrabook definition. They will certainly look like Ultrabooks. [Again, unless Intel is building a patent barrier.]