Intel is scheduled to hold a meeting with supply chain manufacturers in Taiwan next month to discuss how they can cut down on the production costs of the ultrabook.
Intel is hoping to bring down the prices of ultrabooks to as low as $699 by the third or fourth quarter of this year. This will allow Intel to meet its target of selling between 20 and 30 million ultrabooks in 2012.
This move is likely prompted, even partially, by Apple’s announcement that it will reduce the price of the MacBook Air by as much as $100. Both the ultrabook and the MacBook Air feature the Intel Ivy Bridge processor, which is also one of both devices’ main selling points.
For now, Intel’s main priority is on lessening the costs of individual components that are pulling up the price of ultrabooks. This means that in the future, there will be some substitutions in the parts of ultrabooks. For instance, the pricey aluminum-alloy cases might be replaced with ones made out of fiberglass-enhanced plastic. Li-polymer batteries, meanwhile may be swapped with prismatic lithium-ion batteries. Likewise, instead of expensive Solid State Drives, ultrabook makers might settle with hybrid Hard Disk Drives.
When Intel introduced the ultrabook branding, the company wanted a device that would be at once portable, reasonably-priced, and contained top-of-the-line hardware. To achieve this, it specified a maximum thickness, and required certain hardware like an Ivy Bridge processor to be present on the notebooks. Furthermore, it obliged manufacturers to offer certain technologies like Rapid Start, Smart Response, Smart Connect, Anti-Theft, and Identity Protection.
It was an ambitious goal from the start. However, it later on proved to be quite feasible as many companies like Lenovo, Dell, HP, Toshiba, Samsung, Acer, and Asus are frequently rolling out new models of ultrabooks. Nonetheless, Intel seems to still see solutions to the pricing problem of ultrabook manufacturers, allowing them to offer the these devices at lower and more competitive prices.
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