Ultrabooks: What You Need To Know

Ultrabooks are the newest and one of the most exciting area of technology to emerge in recent years. With Apple leading the way with the MacBook Airs, Intel decided to categorise and promote the innovation of slim, light, portable and powerful laptops which use its chips.

What is an Ultrabook?
While there is no hard and fast rules for what constitutes an Ultrabook, the term has been trademarked by Intel and the laptops which bear the name, all follow a similar aesthetic and are using the same hardware specifications.

Ultrabooks at their hearts, will be powered by Intel’s chips. The current batch of laptops will be powered by the Sandy Bridge i3, i5 and i7 processors but by the end of 2011 or early 2012 we’ll see Intel’s new Ivy Bridge platform which promises better power management while also boosting CPU and graphical grunt.

According to Intel: “Ultrabook systems will marry the performance and capabilities of today’s laptops with tablet-like features.” The main tablet-like feature of course will be the portability of these light and slim designs.

All Ultrabooks will be less than an inch thick, have no optical drives, use SSD storage, have long battery life (five to eight hours), will awake from sleep in a matter of seconds, weigh less than 1.4kg and cost less than $1,000.

Who is making them?

Intel created a $300 million Ultrabook Fund back in August to help manufacturers “accelerate” getting the design and production of their devices to market. Intel is hoping the Fund will create innovations in technology which will help the Ultrabook revolution.

So far we have seen Ultrabooks from Asus, Acer, Toshiba and Lenovo with HP and Dell also set to announce new slim laptops in the coming months. We expect that Ultrabooks will dominate CES in Las Vegas next January with many more manufacturers getting in on the party.

When can I buy them and how much will they cost?

None of the Ultrabooks are currently available but the Asus and Acer models are set to launch in October while the Toshiba and Lenovo laptops will be available at some stage during November. HP’s offering is set to come out before the end of 2011 while Dell will show off its 14in Ultrabook at CES in January.

With the Ultrabook such an inchoate technology sector, it is hard to predict with any accuracy whether or not they will capture the public’s imagination. However, with Apple’s MacBook Airs proving popular, surely lower priced devices offering similar portability stand a good chance of being very popular.

We’ll be keeping you up to date with all the Ultrabook news as it is announced as well as bringing you all the reviews of these ultraportable laptops as we get them in.